Daily Archives: June 23, 2010

10-for-10: Sheena Atilano’s most memorable track moment

Sheena Atilano, the Philippines’ premiere sprint hurdler, answers 10-for-10!

Atilano came into prominence in 2007, when she broke the legendary Elma Muros-Posadas‘ long-standing 100m hurdles record by one-one hundredth of a second, stopping the clock at 13.65s. Fresh from landing a podium finish in the tough 2010 Asian Grand Prix, Atilano is slated to compete in this year’s Asian Games in Guangzhou.

1.) How did you get started with track?

When i was in grade 6. I had the longest jump in our PE class at the same time merong track meet sa aming district tapos dinala ako dun ng teacher ko at pinasali and then nanalo ako, tutuloy na yun hanggang sa Palarong Pambansa. (There was this track meet in our district. My teacher made me compete in the long jump – and I won. I competed in the long jump in the Palarong Pambansa). I won gold in [the] long jump girls and [at] that time, Marestella Torres came in at 4th place!

2.) What’s the most memorable moment of your track career?

Siguro yung unang nag sub 14 ako at siyempre nung nagbreak ako ng national record :) (When I ran my first-ever Sub-14 race and when I broke the 100m hurdles record)

3.) What’s your life-long dream?

Life long dream? Ang yumaman. (To become rich) Siguro sa track career year lang ha, B standard. (In my track career, to reach the Olympic “B” standard of 13.11s).

4.) Let’s lighten up a bit! What would you rather wear and why? Short shorts or tights?

Long tights ba ‘to?..shorts shorts na lang. (Are we talking about long tights? I prefer short shorts!)

5.) If you could be a Glee cast member, who will you be? And what song will you sing?

Rachel! Don’t stop believing.

6.) How I Met Your Mother or F.R.I.E.N.D.S.?

FRIENDS kasi hindi ko pa napanuod yung How I Met Your Mother. (I’d choose FRIENDS since I haven’t seen How I Met Your Mother yet).

7.) What’s the best pump-up song of all time?

I’m not really into music eh. I like yung climb ni Miley [Cyrus]for my track career. (I like Miley Cyrus’ “Climb” for my track career).

8.) If you could spend the rest of your days at any place in the world, which would you choose?


hurdler49: Sheena answered with a question mark. Apparently, she’s living the dream right now!

9.) Name three things you just can’t live without.

Internet, money, family.

10.) Fill in the blanks: I’ll run an ultra marathon just to go out with _________.


Thank you for answering, Sheena!

* Marestella Torres – Filipino long jump record holder at 6.68m. Two-time SEA Games gold medalist, winner of the 2009 Asian Championships.

Video Credits:


Photo Credits:

Sheena’s Facebook account


Field of Dreams

I did not start out as a track & field athlete. Although I took tennis, basketball and taekwondo lessons as a kid, I became engrossed in sports quite late – as a high school sophomore in 2000. Back then, I started participating in after-school pick-up games  just to blow out steam. Soon enough, I was hooked to the hoops game

That summer was unforgettable. My first experience with organized athletic training (with the Ateneo High School “B” team) was an eye opener. It made me realize how puny my basketball skills were. Although I had a decent enough jump shot, I had no semblance of basketball IQ, in light of my late start as a 15 year old.

Despite the embarrassment wearing thick Rec Spec goggles and my poor game,  one particular thing stood out – my legs had spring. In those grueling campus runs I did with the team, I re-discovered my talent for running (back in grade school, I used to run a lot in those games kids play). As the training progressed, I found myself ahead of everybody. But fate, it seemed, had other plans. A last-minute coaching change ensued. Despite earning the respect of the erstwhile head coach with my sterling work ethic, I had to prove myself yet again to the new head honcho. A month later, I got cut off from the lineup.

My basketball dreams were dashed; I was in shambles.

Vowing to return to the team better than ever, I joined the track & field squad, hoping to improve my overall athleticism. A year later, I attended the tryouts of my former basketball team. The hard court and the ball seemed so alien to me.

There and then, I realized where my field of dreams lay not on the high school basketball court, but on that quiet open space at edge of the Hill.

I can still remember the first time I ran on that grass track. It was a Wednesday afternoon way back in 2000. When I saw the wide expanse of the field and the multitude of people doing sports, I felt intimidated. I did two awkward laps.

In my senior year two years later, I spent an inordinate amount of time on the track. For hours I honed my hurdling technique and busted my lungs doing sprints. I spent the entire summer before my senior year training alone at that very field. I started at the break of dawn, fighting off the strong urge of boredom. I trained like a man possessed since I wanted to become the fastest man on campus and to win as many medals as possible. I had purpose and I knew what I wanted. The experience of training alone for two arduously long months was character building – a pivotal point in my young life.

Even in college, I made it a point to train at the high school oval from time to time. I felt attached to the place since this was where my dreams of track & field glory began. Amidst the peaks and troughs of competition, I found an oasis of solace in that grass track.

Looking back, I realized how much I’ve grown through the years. And how the high school track has been a constant fixture of that growth. I haven’t hung up my spikes yet, although for a good part of the past two years, I thought I had. I’m still running, sprinting and hurdling, albeit at a dramatically reduced pace. After all, there are far more bigger things in life than track & field.

With career and other more pressing issues taking center stage, that quiet spot at the Ateneo campus retains a certain sense of nostalgia – and more.

As the dreams of fading youth flicker, a momentary darkness sets on that fecund plain. In time, dawn arrives and the sun’s warmth bathe the field of dreams once more.

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