Cycling coach Ednalyn Hualda shines in a male-dominated field
Never allow anyone to say that you cannot reach your dreams.”
This statement rings true for Ednalyn Calitis Hualda, who is now the coach of Go For Gold, one of the best cycling teams in the country.
She started in judo and wrestling at the age of 14, more to show her family that females weren’t built just for the household.
“You can be anything you set out to be,” she said.
In 2005, her husband Ronel, a national cyclist, pushed her to study the sport of cycling. She eventually built a team, found a sponsor and has now helped mold a lot of the younger generation into budding superstars.
The Philippine Star: What is your coaching philosophy?
Ednalyn Hualda: Anything you can imagine, you can make it real and make a difference.
How have you structured the training regimen of your team?
We have a one-year program laid out. Our athletes are given specific programs to match their needs and talent. Why do we do this? Our training program is personalized for each athlete.
Last year was a busy one for you and the team.
We already accomplished the LTDF, Ronda Pilipinas, PruRide PH, Asian Cycling Championship, Tour of Vietnam, Tour de Iskandar, the Tour of Eagle, Tour of Ijen, Tour de Linggarjarti, Tour de Siak, Tour de Singkarak, Manhattan Grand Prix, Tour de DMZ, and finally the SEA Games 2019. The competitions we’re joining depend on the needs of our riders. The minimum number of races we need to join in a year is 12 to 18. We join these races because we want to prove that Filipino riders are globally competitive. But of course, this wouldn’t be possible without the help of our sponsors, Go for Gold, partners, and the Filipino nation that are behind us.
Are our cyclists at par with their Asian counterparts?
The Filipino athletes are improving and climbing up the ranks because there are programs that are supporting and believing in these athletes. That is why we came up with the Go For Gold Sports Development Program, which supports grassroots and elite athletes.
Is it hard to be a female coach?
First, I have been judged a lot because I have never competed in professional cycling and they think that I do not have the capability and knowledge to coach. I have also been underestimated by older coaches and other professional cyclists. These people tell me that my program is only good for one sport and for that one sport only: wrestling. I have proven that I can be more than what they think. I’ve proven that no matter what sports event you have come from, the basics will always be the same.
I always ask one percent of trust from my athletes and I’ll make sure to do the remaining 99 percent.
What can be done to further promote cycling?
Cycling is not just a sport; it’s also a way of living. It can promote a healthy lifestyle. You can ride a bike as a mode of transportation. Cycling can bring you to different parts of the world. Through Go For Gold, we were able to revive cycling and give opportunities to young riders. With cycling today, you can now study and still be able to ride your bike on an everyday basis. We have given cycling a different perspective from what it was before.
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