Filipina world sambo medalist preaches body positivity through sports

Filipina world sambo medalist preaches body positivity through sports
From left: Paolo Tancontian, Sydney Sy Tancontian and coach Ace Larida

MANILA, Philippines – Six-time World Sambo Championship bronze medalist Sydney Sy Tancontian encouraged Filipino women to overcome natural shyness and to turn to sports, especially combat sports, not only for its competitve nature but also for self-defense and health reasons.

Tancontian expressed his concern about the negative impact of social media on the health and mental well-being of women, particularly its saturated exposure to various aspects of beautification and weight loss. She also pointed out that this has led to a perception where being thin has become the basis of beauty and sexiness. This perception has negative effects on women, especially those who belong to the "heavyweight" category.

Tancotian shared her own experience of being compared to others and how she overcame it by focusing on sports like judo, kurash and sambo. He emphasized the importance of participating in sports not only for competition but also for mental and physical fitness and self-defense.

"The effect of social media has strengthened, where being thin becomes the basis of beauty and sexiness. So if you are a bit chubby, social media used to be a bit negative. It has a bad effect indirectly, little by little, on the thoughts and feelings of oversized women,” said Tancotian during her visit Thursday to the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports Inc. (TOPS) Usapang Sports at the VIP Room of the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.

The 23-year-old graduate of Sports Management at the University of Santo Tomas insisted that she personally experienced being compared to others, but she quickly overcame it when she focused on sports from judo, kurash and sambo.

"It's really our family in judo. My father, uncle and my siblings are into contact sports in judo, wrestling and sambo. I personally can't spar with heavyweight because right now there are no heavyweight women participating in sambo," said Tancontian in the program sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission, Behrouz Persian Cuisine and Pocari Sweat.

"That's why I call on my friends to go out and participate in sports not only to be competitive and for self defense, but also for mental and physical fitness," said Tancontian.

Tancontian's father, Paolo, is considered the "Father of Philippine Sambo" and the current president of the Philippine Sambo Federation (PSF). 

The older Tancontian ang coach Ace Larida Tancontian, who joined Sydney in the forum, claimed that they continue to communicate with local government units and the Department of Education to introduce sambo in schools and communities. This as the PSF’s mission is to propagate the sports and teach Filipinos self-defense.

Sydney got her sixth World Cup bronze medal in women's +80kgs. heavyweight division in recently concluded World tilt in Yereven, Armenia, defeating tournament favorite Bianca Prodan of Romania.

Since 2018, Tancontian is the only athlete from Southeast Asia to have won a medal on the world sambo stage. As a result of such success, she rose to No. 4 in the world rankings and is included in the Athletes' Commission of the World Sambo Federation.

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