BY JEREMIAH M. SEVILLA ON
APRIL 27, 2018
Promising tanker Micaela Jasmine Mojdeh, the 2018 Palarong Pambansa’s most bemedalled athlete with six gold medals and a silver, could be the first Filipino athlete to realize the country’s dream of winning the elusive Olympic gold medal.
In a phone interview with The Manila Times, Mojdeh said she “wants to break world records” in the future.
Sky is the limit for this girl as she has yet to reach her peak, according to her coach Philippine Swimming League (PSL) president Susan Papa.
“She’s still so far from her peak form. She’s just starting,” said Papa, who believes that Mojdeh could deliver the Philippines’ gold medal in the Olympics—like what Schooling did for Singapore.
“Based on what we see, what we’re saying is that she can get a gold (in the Olympics), it’s very possible,” added Papa.
For 2020 Tokyo, Papa and the PSL coaching staff are eyeing for Mojdeh to gain experience in the Olympic pool. Come 2024 Paris, they will gun for a podium finish.
Papa admitted that Mojdeh is not an “inherently talented” swimmer but is always willing to undergo hard training. Papa describes her ward as, “having the complete ingredients an athlete should have.”
The veteran swimming coach shared that Mojdeh practices for two hours, six times a week on top of her academic studies. She could only imagine what her ward could achieve if she trains full-time
Unfortunately, Mojdeh is not getting any support from the Philippine Swimming Incorporated, the country’s national sports association for swimming, due to membership issues.
On the brighter side, Mojdeh’s mom Joan and the rest of PSL are more than willing to groom her into a future Olympian and possibly the first Filipino gold medalist in the most prestigious sporting event in the world.
“We and the PSL are the only ones supporting her. We fund her participation in competitions abroad,” said Joan, the National Capital Region director of the swimming organization.
In her first Palarong Pambansa entry recently, NCR’s elementary bet Mojdeh wowed the crowd in the President Elpidio Quirino Aquatics Center in Bantay, Ilocos Sur, as she dominated the 100-meter butterfly, 200-meter individual medley (IM), 100-meter breaststroke, 50-meter butterfly, 4×100-meter medley relay, 4×50-meter medley relay gold.
The 11-year old tanker ruled the 100m butterfly and 200m medley in record-breaking fashion. She posted 1:06.1 in the century butterfly, shattering Camille Buico’s two-year record of 1:06.9, then clocked 2:33.12 in the 200m IM, eclipsing Raven Faith Alcoseba’s two-year mark of 2:33.71.
Mojdeh went just six milliseconds short of a golden sweep after finishing second in the 50m breaststroke with a time of 37.17 seconds.
“I was very glad that I achieved this in the Palaro,” said the first-timer in the annual games but a veteran international campaigner.
The pride of Immaculate Heart of Mary College-Parañaque qualified for the games last year in San Jose De Buenavista, Antique but her team decided to forego the event in order for her to join overseas tourneys wherein she accomplished much.
Around the time of Palaro’s staging last year, Mojdeh bagged eight gold medals to lead PSL’s haul of 20-7-1 gold-silver-bronze in the 2017 Indian Ocean All-Star Challenge in Perth, Australia.
She then spearheaded PSL’s 42-10-13 harvest in the 11-year old division of the 2017 Hamilton Aquatics Long Course Swimming Championships, reaping 18 gold and two silver in Doha, Qatar.
Mojdeh skipped the 2017 Palaro but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise as greater things awaited her.
In August 2017, Mojdeh smashed 2016 Rio Olympics gold medalist Joseph Schoolings’ 11-year record in the 10-11 years old 100m butterfly in the Singapore Island Country Club (SICC) Invitational Swimming Championship. She registered 1:10.49 in last year’s meet to break Schoolings’ 1:11.89 set in 2006-—the year Mojdeh was born.
The young star tanker also broke Schoolings’ SICC record in 50m butterfly. She tallied 30.47 seconds in the Rotary Swim Challenge 2017, resetting her and Schooling’s tied record of 31.73 seconds in the Singaporean invitational, wherein the PSL defended its overall crown with a 72-67-55 medal haul.