She was seven years old when she started to play table tennis. It wasn’t her interest at first, but her father insisted her to try playing it, and soon after she found herself relishing the moment she used up playing table tennis. She never thought it would become her career. Juliette Castro Gayoso, 21, is a spirited table tennis player. She is taking up Bachelor in Elementary Education at Central Philippine University (CPU). She is 5’ tall and she weighs 51 kilograms. Her parents, Simplicio Gayoso, Jr. and Nanette Gayoso had been among her inspirations. Recently, she won gold medal which she considered her MVP Award, and she was awarded as Most Outstanding Athlete during the National PRISAA 2013 at Pangasinan
Here’s the uncut interview of IMT with Juliette
Why TABLE TENNIS? What makes it special to you?
Juliette: It is special to me because it serves as a family bonding for us. Everybody in my family knows how to play, even my mom (but not that much). It is what binds us.”
How did you learn playing TABLE TENNIS?
Juliette: I learned when I was seven. My father, who was working in Manila at that time, would always see ‘pingpong’ players in Harrison Plaza where he used to go after work. It inspired and encouraged him to teach my older brother and I. Then he also taught my younger brothers. I started joining competitions since I was 8, but I had my formal training when I was 9.
What kind of TABLE TENNIS player are you?
Juliette: “I guess I can say I’m an offensive player. I rarely spin, I do “flat drives” as much as possible. My defense is horrible, but I am working hard on that, too. In attitude, I guess I’m kind of a “pikon” player, I get irritated easily, which is a trait I am trying very hard to overcome. ^_^”
How do you prepare yourself before the competition?
Juliette: “Just like other athletes, I undergo physical tune-ups as well like jogging and plyometrics. I watch what I eat and drink (no softdrinks allowed!) and practice daily. “
What was the greatest challenge you had encountered before?
Juliette: “One of the greatest challenges I had encountered was choosing between my studies and my sports. As a varsity, I am always out of the class and I usually missed lot of our lessons. Thankfully I learned how to balance it and manage my time between school and practice and tournaments.”
What are/is your learning/s?
Juliette: “First and foremost, I have learned the value of discipline. As an athlete discipline is a very important factor. I also learned the value of respect, especially to my coach and trainers, and as well as to my fellow players. I learned how to adjust quickly in different situations. And I also learned that we cannot always have what we want, or win all the time. :-)”
Who is/are your inspiration/s?
Juliette: “I have a LOT of inspirations. I do this for the Lord, first and foremost, because I would not be here if He didn’t bless me this skill. Then I have my family, who was always very supportive in what I do. I’m playing also for my school, which I am so proud to represent all the time. :-)”
What advice can you give to those who are interested in playing TABLE TENNIS?
Juliette: “Well, you have to love the game first. You must actually WANT to play, not just because you are forced or have no other choice. I believe (and I think other athletes too) that you have to play with your heart. Passion for the game is what fuels you to go on and endure the hardships of training and competitions. My father taught me the value of discipline, obedience and respect that you give to your coach and trainers, which for me is very important. And lastly, pray. God knows how prayers made me last in every competition I’ve been through. :-)”IMT