Photo: (from left to right) Deputy Chief of Mission Reynaldo Catapang, Mr. Steven Cheung, Ambassador Enrique Manalo, Mr. Reymund Enteria and Consul General Bernadette Fernandez at the Philippine Embassy in London
(LONDON, 2 April)
– “The games have not yet begun, but it’s like the Philippines already has a gold medal.”
This was the sentiment expressed today at the Philippine Embassy by Reymund Enteria and Steven Cheung, two members of the Filipino community in the UK who were chosen from tens of thousands of nominees to serve as Torchbearers for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Messrs. Enteria and Cheung were invited by Ambassador Enrique Manalo to the Embassy to recognize the young men’s achievements as well as provide them an opportunity to share their inspirational stories with the rest of the Filipino community.
“Our kababayans all over the world are very proud of your selection as Olympic Torchbearers,” said Ambassador Manalo, “and we will all be looking for your parts of the relay and loudly cheering you on.”
Both men spoke of the long process and difficult odds they faced before finally experiencing the joy of being officially named one of the torchbearers of the Olympic flame. Their selection, they said, was due in no small part to their work and achievements as Filipinos in the UK.
Mr. Enteria is a Senior Occupational Therapist at the Raphael Medical Centre in Kent who focuses on neurological rehabilitation and mental health patients. He has received several professional awards and commendations for his work.
“Being chosen as a torchbearer is a true honor, and I dedicate my run to all my fellow OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers)” Mr. Enteria said.
Mr. Cheung , in turn, is an Olympic Youth Ambassador for his home borough of Waltham Forest, responsible for ensuring that the voices of the youth are heard by senior officials. Despite his young age, he already has a long history of working with government offices, businesses and charity organizations. Mr. Cheung is also co-founder of the SCF Foundation which seeks to elevate the presence of Filipinos in the UK through trade, social enterprise, volunteering, and political participation.
“I hope my run does inspire Filipinos and young people everywhere to become more actively engaged with their communities” said Mr. Cheung.
Mr. Enteria and Mr. Cheung will each run 300 metre stretches of the torch relay, with Mr. Enteria’s stage taking place in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham on 22 July, while Mr. Cheung will run in the London Borough of Waltham Forest on 21 July.
Both men expressed hope that Filipinos in the UK will turn out in great numbers to witness the Olympic flame passing through the country, and go on to cheer the Philippine team at the games.