Meggie Ochoa has been a world champion. She has won numerous gold medals in both international and local meets.
But just like any Filipino athlete, the 29-year-old product of Ateneo knows one thing — winning gold in the Southeast Asian Games is important in order to have a legacy. And the win was more special since the 30th edition of the biennial meet was hosted in her home country.
“Grabe super overwhelming!” said the standout from Jiujitsu Manila/Atos Philippines about the partisan crowd inside the Laus Group Convention Centre in San Fernando, Pampanga last December 9.
“Iba pala ‘yung lumaban in your very own home country, surrounded by people that you love and that have been there for you since the beginning. “
Ochoa did not disappoint, turning the mats into a theatre with her as the protagonist.
To start off her campaign, Ochoa displayed composure early before blasting Thailand’s Kanjutha Phattaraboonsorn with a dominant 11-2 win via points. Gaining momentum, the pint-sized grappler then grounded Vietnam’s Le Thu Trang Dao in the finals, 12-0, to win gold in the under-45kg division.
That, then, sealed Ochoa’s legacy.
But for her, winning gold was not just for her — it was for her advocacy, Fight to Protect.
“For one, it’s really important because we have a Fight to Protect fundraiser event for homes and organizations caring for children rescued from online sexual exploitation, so I wanted to use the win to help promote that event and raise more funds for the kids.
“For jiu jitsu in the Philippines, this is so important because it’s a way to promote the sport to people and places that we have not been able to reach yet. Our dream is to really promote the sport at the grassroots level and allow kids that may not have access to the sport the opportunity to practice and excel in it and this is definitely a big push for that dream,” the blue belt continued.
And for as long as her physical continues to allow her to, Ochoa will continue to fight to protect.