MANILA, Philippines -- Now back to her normal weight category, Filipina jin Pauline Lopez is eyeing nothing short of the gold medal in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games that the country will host in November.
Lopez won gold in the under-57 kg division in the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore, but moved to 62kg in the 2017 edition of the event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She settled for the bronze medal two years ago.
"I'm moving back to -57kg, my normal weight class," confirmed Lopez, also a bronze medalist in the Asian Games last year in Jakarta.
Asked if it will be all or nothing for the gold for her, Lopez answered: "Most definitely."
"Blood, sweat, and tears, and everything," she stressed. "We're just all going to give it."
This will be the second time that Lopez will compete on home soil, after also participating in the 2016 Asian Taekwondo Championships.
She won gold in the -57kg class then, and the feeling of standing at the top of the podium while the national anthem was being sung was one she never forgot.
"I remember how it felt," she says. "Stepping on the podium with everyone watching, cheering… You can hear everyone, it's inspiring."
"So for the SEA Games, I'm very excited that it's going to be in our home," she added.
"At the same time, my parents, they're going to be out here watching me for the first time in 10 years," Lopez also revealed. "So, I'm excited."
Lopez has been hard at work to prepare for the SEA Games, competing in tournaments monthly. They are expected to see action in the World Taekwondo Grand Prix in Sofia this week, and will train with Korea as well.
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.