For world champions Amit, Ochoa, it's all about giving back to the community

Photo from Bughaw Digital via Meggie Ochoa's Instagram account

Billiards icon Rubilen Amit and jiu-jitsu star Meggie Ochoa, two world champions in their respective sports, realized that they are carrying huge obligations more than ever as proud women in their chosen field.

With years of expertise in sports, the two were in unison that giving back to the community is one of the many ways to inspire the next generation of athletes.

Aside from winning trophies and gold medals, there is also fulfillment in teaching aspiring athletes, which served as self-reflection when they were just rookies in the field.

Photo by Ali Vicoy

Amit, 39, admitted that her motivation in continuing billiards has changed through the years but remained dedicated to promoting self-improvement.

"Ang dami kong natutunan sa billiards and somehow, in my own little ways, I've noticed that I'm able to touch people's lives through billiards (I learned a lot in billiards and somehow, in my own little ways, I've noticed that I'm able to touch people's lives through billiards)," said Amit in an interview on Radyo Pilipinas' PSC Hour Friday, March 13 "'Yung inspiration na nabibigay ko, in return nai-inspire din ako. Namo-motivate din ako to do better (I'm also inspired in return. I'm motivated to do better)."

The two-time billiards world champion had offered free coaching back in 2019, months before she ruled the women's 9-ball singles and 9-ball doubles alongside protege and pal Chezka Centeno in the 30th SEA Games here in the Philippines.

Were it not for the pandemic, Amit is willing to resume mentoring other aspiring athletes while juggling training ahead of the 2021 SEA Games in Vietnam. The Cebuano billiards sensation believed that every day is a learning process, a mantra she had applied further amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also thanks to the gentlemen in coach Francisco "Django" Bustamante and Efren "Bata" Reyes, which she fondly calls "tatay," Amit felt welcomed despite being in a men-dominated sport.

"Feeling ko when I share it with mga aspiring players, mga young players, feeling ko nare-remind din ako and natututo din ako (I felt reminded of my roots every time I share lessons with aspiring players and I also learn as well)," added Amit, who will kick off her SEA Games preparation next month.

Ochoa, for her part, reminded fellow female athletes to maximize every opportunity presented to them and focus on improving their current capabilities.

Photo from Bughaw Digital via Meggie Ochoa's Instagram account

Besides being a three-time world champion, Ochoa is known as a vocal advocate against child exploitation and violence.

She initiated the "Fight to Protect" movement in 2018, which provides help to child victims, orphans, survivors, women involved in sexual violence and online sexual abuse through jiu-jitsu.

The 30-year-old jiu-jitsu queen used the sport as a platform not only to gear their beneficiaries with self-defense lessons but also to raise awareness and empowerment amid the growing cases of child exploitation.

"Malaking pribilehiyo po iyon para sa akin. Dahil narasanan ko po 'yung pribilehiyo na iyon, nais ko pong maipabot sa iba pang babae na nandyan na hindi ako nasa ganitong position all my life (It's a huge privilege and since I have that privilege, I want to remind fellow female athletes that I won't be in this position for all my life)," said Ochoa, a five-time SEA Games gold winner.

"Para sa akin po kasi, ang isang babaeng empowered ay hindi tumitigil sa sarili niya. Ang isang babaeng empowered ay nararapat na lumabas sa sarili at patulong ding mag-empower ng iba (For me, an empowered woman doesn't stop with herself. An empowered woman must go beyond her comfort zone and continue empowering others as well)."