US-based Filipina and 2016 Rio Olympics badminton standout Paula Lynn Obañana, during yesterday’s Sports Tourism Forum, has encouraged fellow Filipino athletes not to lose hope amidst adversities, instead must stay focused and be strong.
“We have to keep going even sometimes we feel down. Stay focused on your goal. I know that there are lots of destruction but, if you know what you want and put 110 or 120 per cent on your dream then you will eventually get it,” said the 31-year-old Dumaguete-born athlete –who represented US during the last Rio Olympics.
Obañana also shared her experience playing under the US colors which in some point was quite awkward. “It’s a little bit awkward but, as my family migrated to the US and had that opportunity to play then I just grabbed it and, not, because I don’t want to play for the Philippines,” she stressed. “I just went with the flow that brought me to where I’m now,” she added.
Obañana, the current Pan-American top player and USA Olympic team member, started her playing career at 10 years old in Silliman University under Coach Manolito Saldivar. She played there during her elementary to high school where she won several gold medals in the Palarong Pambansa.
During her collegiate years, she played for De La Salle University – Manila where she earned the Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year Award in UAAP Season ‘65 and then back-to-back MVP for UAAP Seasons ‘67 and ’68.
The once World Ranked No. 17 Obañana also suited up for the Philippine Team from 1997 to 2006 where she ranked No. 2 in Ladies Singles and Ranked No. 1 in the Ladies Doubles.
Among her other career highlights last year were the silver medal finish in the 2016 Austrian International (Women’s Doubles) and 2016 Tahiti International (Women’s Doubles).
In 2015, she also won gold medals during the Pan-American Games (Women’s Doubles), and Chile International (Women’s Doubles); silver in the Guatemala International – (Women’s Doubles) and Bulgarian International (Women’s Doubles); and with Sydney International and Rio de Janeiro Grand Prix.*