AFTER missing out on the tournament last season, Lady Judoka Almira Ruiz’s MVP award this year was all about redemption.
Ruiz was disqualified last season for missing the weight limit in the -52 kg category.
“Sobrang down ko po noong mga time na ‘yun, and aaminin ko rin naman po kasalanan ko rin talaga kasi [naging complacent] ako that time,” she told the Varsitarian.
Ruiz returned in the -57 kg category this season.
Coach Gerard Arce commended Ruiz for her feat despite struggling with her weight.
“Nagtraining siya ‘nang mabuti, pinag-aralan namin ‘yung mga techniques noong mga magiging kalaban niya, mas lalo siyang nagsipag,” Arce said.
Ruiz topped teammate Devrah Devaras in the final round to bag gold in the -57 kg category.
But the Cebu native said the MVP plum was just a bonus; her main goal was to help the Lady Judokas grab their four-straight title.
“Ina-aim ng team is makapag-four peat. ‘Yun ‘yung inspiration ko. Gusto ko maging gold para bumawi sa last year,” Ruiz said.
“Pareho kaming dalawa ng partner ko na gusto din mag gold…I aimed for nothing less than gold. [N]aging edge ko lang sa kanya is power lang talaga kasi kung sa technique lang mas lamang po siya,” she added.
Arce said the Lady Judokas would take a break for a couple of months before preparing for Season 81.