Published on March 26th, 2019 | by Cheska Erfe-Mejia0
Athlete of the Month: Rinna Babanto
Photo by: Kiana Carlos
Growing up in Cebu City, Rinna Babanto was part of a dance group in grade school. Her Taekwondo career started when she fell in love with the sport while watching her younger brother’s training in school. And ever since, she has never stopped playing.
Babanto, who was only 14 years old in 2011, was scouted by the Philippine Taekwondo Poomsae Team’s head coach after seeing her at the National Carlo Palanca Jr. Taekwondo Championship in Manila.
Two years later, Babanto competed in the 8th WTF World Taekwondo Championship in Bali, Indonesia. She competed in the Junior Women’s team category and emerged on top, bringing home a gold medal.
In the same year, she competed in the 2013 Southeast Asian Games in Naypyidaw, Myanmar. Despite being only 16, she competed in the Senior Women’s team category alongside Philippine Taekwondo veterans, Rani Ortega and Janice Lagman-Lizardo.
Less than two months before the biggest tournament of her career, Babanto sustained a meniscus tear in her right knee. She recovered from a surgery she underwent in June of last year, and competed in the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia. Despite her an injury, she and her team garnered the bronze medal in the Senior Women’s team category.
Like any other athlete from the province, Babanto dealt with homesickness in her early years in the De La Salle University (DLSU). She learned how to cope with it through the help of the Office of Sports Development (OSD), her teammates, her coach, her friends, and her family.
From her third year of college up to now, Babanto has led the DLSU Poomsae Team as team captain.
Rinna Babanto is now a graduating student in Sports Management. She continues to train with the national team in preparation for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. Her busy schedule consists of training, going to the gym, consulting with a mental coach, and going to class.
Due to her contributions to the Lasallian community, Babanto has been a recipient of the prestigious Gawad Lasalyano award since her first year of college.
Aside from being a full-time student-athlete, Babanto spends time with her friends and teammates outside training hours. She loves to read and travel. She also does a bit of modelling.
Overall, Rinna Babanto is someone who can balance academics and training while having fun. Be sure to watch out for her as she continues to dominate Philippine Taekwondo.