For 19-year-old Jedah Mae Soriano, winning a gold medal in a gold medal in the women’s padded stick event of arnis in the 30th Southeast Asian Games was an opportunity to bring changes in her family’s life.
She never expected to receive a total of P850,000 after beating her two rivals in the featherweight division two weeks ago.
“Nung pagpasok ko sa Philippine team, hindi ko expect na may mangyayaring ganito. Bigla na lang. Boom,” said Soriano, whose family lives in Villamor Air Base.
From the incentives that she earned, their family will have a chance to move out of their family’s residence, their home for so many years since her father is a non-commissioned officer attached to the Philippine Air Force.
“Tatay ko po kasi ay sundalo. Nasa Air Force po siya. Pag-retire niya. Kailangan po namin ng bahay. Alis na po kami. Malaking tulong po ito,” she said.
After getting P100,000 from the Pasay City government, Soriano received a check worth P200,000 from the Philippine Olympic Committee, which gave out a total of P52.87-million in incentives to national athletes who won medals during the Games.
More will be coming when the government gives P300,000 in accordance with the law and President Durterte adds P250,000 when the medalists return to Malacanang on Wednesday.
Soriano said this gives her a chance to give back to her parents, Philippine Air Force staff sergeant Samuel Soriano and his wife Cecilia.
Her family of nine will have to move out of Villamor Air Base very soon when her dad retires. This has been their residence since they were kids. Part of the money she got will be used to buy new property.
The lovely 19-year-old Soriano, who looks like a young Angel Locsin or Glaiza De Castro, won a gold medal on her first international outing.
Soriano, who wants to take up Accountancy in college, ruled the featherweight division in the women’s full contact-padded stick (featherweight) event after beating Man Maw Oo of Myanmar at the Angeles University Foundation gymnasium.
She reached the finals after turning back Sanchana Yuos of Cambodia, 2-1, in the semifinals.
Against Oo, Soriano said she didn’t need to take an aggressive stance against her.
“More on defense. Inaantay ko po siyang lumusob, at dumepensa lang ako,” said Soriano, who claimed an 11-0 win over Oo.
Soriano has gone a long way since learning the sport back in Grade 3, when her father, Samuel and her mom encouraged her to join summer clinics that the Air Force had for their dependents.