Cherry Regalado: Beauty and blades

Asian Games bronze medalist Cherry May Regalado now wants a gold in the Southeast Asian Games.

Asian Games pencak silat bronze medalist Cherry May Regalado has come a long way from winning beauty pageants and ruling a 2018 Asian Games Invitational Tournament in Indonesia prior to the Asiad.
But there’s one achievement she’s still aching to accomplish – win a Southeast Asian Games gold.

“Hindi ko napigilan ang pag-iyak noong 2017 SEA Games (in Kuala Lumpur) kasi po alam ko na magkaka-medal ako,” said Regalado, who placed fourth in the Malaysia games. “Hindi po ako nag-give up at sinabi ko po sa sarili ko na patutunayan ko sa kanila na nagkamali sila ng judging.”

The 24-year-old Nutrition Course graduate at the Aklan State University in Banga, Aklan was one of the favorites to win a gold in the Kuala Lumpur games, and deep in her heart, she believed that her performance in Kuala Lumpur was worthy of a pencak silat title.

Regalado, who tried out athletics and volleyball before finally deciding to train in martial arts prior to college, turned her 2017 Southeast Asian Games frustration into a bronze in the 18th Asian Games as she finished third in the Women’s Seri Singles Finals of the Pencak Silat competition at the Padepokan Pencak Silat TM III in Jakarta.

“Alam ko po na marami pang pagkakataon na ibibigay sakin. Tiwala lang po sa sarili,” said Regalado.

That chance has presented itself in the coming biennial meet, which the Philippines is hosting from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.

“As of now, we are almost in the finishing touches of our routines. Maintaining the endurance, stability and proving the speed and power,” said the pretty, former beauty pageant winner, who is probably facing the biggest challenge of her life.

“In my case, I’m also dealing with a knee injury. This is the greatest challenge that I have to face everyday. How I’m gonna perform and improve myself without making my injury worse. But I just always tell myself not to lose hope and never ever give up, a few more steps and “Inshallah, I will take the gold medal as my comeback statement,'” vowed Regalado.

The 2018 Asian Games Invitational Tournament gold medalist says her fiercest competition in the SEAG will come from her Indonesia and Singaporean rivals.

“But I know this time, all countries have prepared hard, too,” she said. “We are all expecting to break our previous record of one gold medal last SEA Games. Of course, more than one is better. With the help of my team, my NSA (Philsilat Association), my coaches and the Philippine Sports Commission, nothing is impossible.”