Pinoy gymnast wins in Macabiah Games
By Eddie Alinea
“IT’S in the blood.”
This was how Rodolfo “Totoy” Tingzon, acknowledged as the father of youth baseball development in the country, described the rise of his young, 15-year-old Fil-Am grandson Blake as an up-and-coming star in the American gymnastics’ scene.
Blake is the eldest of the brood of three of David and Sharil Tingzon.
David is the son of Reynaldo “Baby” Tingzon, younger brother of Totoy, who played baseball for the University of Santo Tomas during his UAAP playing days in the 70s.
“It’s all in the family,” Totoy, who himself played baseball for the National University, said. “Blake is just reliving the family’s athletic history that was started by my father but cut short in the 70s.”
Totoy, whose legacy includes leading the legendary Canlubang Sugar Barons of Calamba dominate the local baseball scene by winning all there was to win in their era, including 11-straight-year in the elite Manila Bay Baseball League, was referring to the baseball-playing family patriarch Julio, a former University of the Philippines standout from Tacloban City and became a topnotch coach.
Blake caught the fancy of the the California Fil-American sporting community when he marched triumphantly to a rare gold-silver-bronze finish in the recent 20th World Maccabiah Games held in Israel.
On the way to his sterling performance that earned for him praises from members of the national coaching staff, the younger Tingzon ruled the pommel horse event while nearly dominated, too, the floor exercises where he ended up third, losing only to the local bets.
His silver medal harvest came in the team event.
He was actually already making waves in the Bay Area by winning several gymnastic competitions that earned for him the right to hone up his skills at the Gymnastics USA training facilities in Van Huys, CA, thus, graduating to a level 10 gymnast. He eventually was chosen as member of the six-man US team to the Israel sojourn.
Totoy disclosed that is grandson is looking forward to continuing his gymnastics’ career and hope to see action in the Olympic Games as a member of the US or Philippine team.
“Bakit hindi? Mas maganda nga if he can carry the country’s colors in future international competitions. He can probably apply for a dual citizenhip to attain that dream. Sabi ko nga nasa dugo niya ang pagiging atleta so hindi masyadong magiging mahirap sa kanya,” the elder Tingzon said.
“I just told him to pursue and finish a college degree. Contrary to what many believe, gymnastics is dangerous sport. One false move, maaring mabali ang buto nya at tapos athletic career nya,” he said, adding that Blake’s eight-year-old younger sister has also started training to follow in her brother’s footstep.
“You know, it’s very heart-warming leaning that youngsters like our grandchildren have involved themselves in sports like us their elders. Sports talaga ang buhay namin. Nakapag-aral kami because athletic scholarships. My brothers and sisters have all been in the US after their studies,” Totoy said.