In sports, starting early matters—it can improve your talent and be known in the field of sports almost instantly.
This is how the young bowling champ Nina De Vera made her mark.
De Vera is named the youngest female bowler to date as she seized the historic double victory in the recently concluded 17th Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) all Filipino bowling tour held in Manama, Bahrain.
The 15-year-old high school graduate won the prestigious Masters and Singles event and also finished 1st runner-up in the ladies all events where she is also the crowd’s attention in the tournament.
The young achiever, who was born and raised in the Gulf’s conservative country of Saudi Arabia, said her father, Mr. Nelson De Vera, is the reason why she enticed to play bowling as early as nine years old.
“It was actually my father who influenced me in the sport. He supports me and he trains me to be better in the field,” Nina told the Filipino Life.
Indeed, the star player lives in the restrictive community in Riyadh, but she never limited her growth in the Kingdom and proved her critics’ wrong views of women in her hometown.
But before she succeeded in her field, De Vera had to endure a lot of struggles and sacrifices, particularly when she got injured and needed to choose between her education and her passion.
“Because of all the discouragements I get from my critics, I once decided to quit [my sport]. But negative opinions and destructions won’t dampen my desire to play bowling, rather it gave me the confidence to improve my skills,” she said.
“And my parents are supportive in my craft. They understand where I belong and they are there [to guide me],” she added.
Currently, she is the person-to-beat in the upcoming tournaments, but De Vera admitted that she feels pressured on how to defend her title.
“The sport is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical. In that way, it helps my everyday life by handling stress and pressure,” she said.
“I’m also doing my best to keep [myself] calm and I do not overthink too much,” she added.
De Vera hopes to obtain the university scholarship for athletes and spend more time to the Philippine National Team in the future.
“I wanted to be like Paeng Nepomuceno and Bong Coo. The achievements that they got and how they give pride to the country and to the Filipino people,” the bowler shared.
The young champion also shared that self-discipline and focus are always the key to reach your goals in life.