Lausanne, Switzerland, March 28, 2020 – Cherry Ann “Sisi” Rondina is a 23-year-old beach volleyball player from the Philippines. Sisi is a member of her country’s national team which won bronze at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games in Manila, Philippines.
Born: September 4, 1996 in Cebu, Philippines
Plays for: Creamline Beach Volleyball and the Philippines
“I’m Sisi Rondina and I am a native of Estaca in Compostela, Cebu. My mother is a housewife while my father works as a driver to provide for me and my three siblings. Life in the province is far from any comfort given my parents’ unstable jobs, but I will always be proud of where I came from.
“I will always be proud of how we were raised to be respectful and close to God. We may not have an abundance of luxury, but our family has richness in love. Despite our situation, it did not stop me from pursuing my dreams in life.
“We had a difficult life, but our parents did everything possible to get us to school and pursue a degree. I was also not expecting that I would be introduced to volleyball or that God would give this talent that brought my dreams to life.
“Where I am now in my volleyball career was not even how I imagined it to be. I doubted myself because I knew that I did not have the height and the skills. It all changed when I met coaches Emil Lontoc and Paul Jan Doloiras, who offered me a scholarship to play for the University of Santo Tomas.
“I felt anxious to face a totally different life in Manila and leave my family behind. It came to a point that I had a hard time juggling my studies and volleyball, but I knew I had to discipline myself, brave through all the challenges I would face and listen to all my coaches’ advice. I must admit that success got to me at one point, but I am grateful for my coaches who brought my feet back to the ground. I learned from my mistakes and worked hard to be the best version of myself.
“I can not help but be overwhelmed as I look back at all the feats that I have achieved as a player. All I can do is to sit down and thank God for helping me give so much to my university, my family and everyone who has been there along the way, even those who doubted me.
“I was blessed to share my story on TV through a drama anthology series, which inspired a lot of people as it depicted how I started playing and how I sacrificed everything just to be with my family again. A lot of people showed their love for me after knowing my story. It felt like victory and surely one of the highlights of my career. I am thankful for all the invaluable support that my schoolmates have given me, which inspired me to get a Southeast Asian Games medal.
“The bronze medal felt like gold with the support we got from Filipinos cheering from the stands. We showed a lot of grit, we put our hearts in each match and we took advantage of every opportunity given to us. This experience pushed me to be even more serious in my pursuit of success in beach volleyball.
“I am truly grateful to God and to our team manager Charo Soriano for showing me the path to focus on beach volleyball, and to our sponsor for backing the sport and providing everything we need to compete.
“I have never wanted anything in my life but to see Philippine sports in harmony. I always pray for all Filipino athletes across all sports to have the opportunity to show our talent and passion to the world. More importantly, I pray for our success as we pursue our dreams, and for more people to be more passionate about sports.”
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