In the world of competitive sports, it is often the unexpected stars that shine the brightest. Meet Fatima Cheska Z. Tanque, a seemingly shy 10-year-old Grade 4 student from Ibarra Elementary School in Maasin City. Behind her unassuming demeanor lies a fierce and determined athlete who recently stunned the Eastern Visayas region with her exceptional skills in the Filipino martial arts of Arnis. With three gold medals and a silver to her name, Fatima’s journey from a humble student to a regional champion captivates the hearts of many.
Fatiima’s path to success began at the tender age of eight, when she first delved into the world of martial arts, starting with Muay Thai. Encouraged by her parents, who emphasized the importance of self-defense, she quickly developed a passion for discipline. It was during her training in Muay Thai that her instructor recognized her potential and recommended she explore Arnis, an art that would later become her claim to fame.
In January of 2023, armed with determination and open mind, Fatima embraced the challenge of learning Arnis from scratch. In a remarkable display of dedication, she immersed herself in the art form, mastering the intricate movements and techniques within just four months. Her swift progress led her to participate in the highly anticipated Eastern Visayas Regional Athletic Association (EVRAA) competition – a momentous event for any young athlete.
When the spotlight was on her, Fatima shed her shy persona and transformed into a force to be reckoned with. Her flawless form, mesmerizing movements, and intense facial expressions captivated spectators and left the judges in awe. It was evident that the young girl had truly found her calling, harnessing her inner strength to execute each move with precision and grace.
Her coach, Alfredo Gabor, described Fatima as a model student, praising her unwavering dedication, passion, and open-mindedness. Throughout her training, she demonstrated a remarkable ability to absorb instruction and eagerly applied feedback to enhance her performance. Gabor’s guidance, combined with the unwavering support of her parents and trainers, Jelo Soriano and John Ranilo Lamanilao, played a pivotal role in shaping Fatima’s success.
When asked about the pressure of competing at such a high level, Fatima’s response exemplified her remarkable maturity and resilience. Rather than succumbing to the weight of expectations, she simply pushed forward, relying on the wisdom imparted by her coaches and trainers. Her ability to remain composed and focused amidst the intense competition is a testament to her mental strength and determination.
Fatima’s achievements at EVRAA were nothing short of extraordinary. Outperforming twelve other talented Arnis players, she claimed three gold medals in the Individual Solo Baston, Individual Doble Baston, and Individual Spada Y Daga categories. Additionally, she secured a silver medal in the Mixed Doubles event, further solidifying her reputation as a rising star in the world of Arnis.
Even her teacher, who was initially taken aback by Fatima’s reserved nature in the classroom, was astounded by her awe-inspiring performance during the Arnis Anyo. The young girl’s ability to seamlessly transition from an unassuming student to an exceptional athlete made her peers and mentors amazed and proud.
Fatima Cheska Z. Tanque’s story serves as a powerful reminder that true potential often lies within the most unassuming individuals. Her journey from a shy girl to an Arnis sensation showcases the transformative power of perseverance, dedication, and the unwavering support of her parents and trainers. Fatima’s achievements not only highlight her personal growth but also inspire others to pursue their passions with unwavering determination.
Looking ahead, Fatima’s future in the world of Arnis appears incredibly promising. With her natural talent, work ethic, and a strong support system, there is no doubt that she has the potential to make a lasting impact on the sport. She has already become an inspiration to aspiring athletes, proving that age and initial shyness are no barriers to achieving greatness.