Pinoy Olympic torch bearers proud to represent Filipinos

by Rose Eclarinal, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at Mar 28 2012 10:34 AM | Updated as of Mar 31 2012 04:40 PM

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LONDON - Reymund ‘Apol’ Enteria, an OFW working as an occupational therapist specialist at Raphael Medical Centre in Tonbridge, Kent and young British-Pinoy achiever Steven Cheung are amongst the 8,000 inspirational people to be chosen as Olympic torch bearers in the torch relay across the British Isles for the 2012 Olympics.

Representing OFWs

Enteria is from a family of overseas Filipino workers, coming from a very humble background. While his father earned a living as a jeepney driver in Philippines, his mother worked as a factory worker in Hong Kong to fund their education. His brother and brother-in-law are both OFWs in Saudi Arabia. Before moving to the UK, Enteria also worked in Saudi Arabia for many years.

“Talagang OFW ang unang pumasok sa isip ko na i-represent kasi I am an OFW. My mom was also overseas Filipino worker and I’m surrounded by people who are OFWs—brother, my cousins, uncles and friends all over the world working, like me,” said Enteria.

When he is not on-duty as an occupational therapist, he also takes on other part time jobs. He works as a cook for Waitrose in Tonbridge.

Enteria saw a Coca-Cola advert calling for Torchbearer nominations and he felt compelled to share his story. He put his name forward, hoping to inspire those who will read it. It was a straight forward story coming from his heart, narrating the hardships he overcame to be where he is now.

He was shortlisted in October and received a conditional offer in December. The final confirmation came recently in the form of an email from the Olympic Committee.

“Di ko po talaga ma-explain kung gaano ako kasaya sa pagkakapili ko po bilang isa sa mga runner ng 2012 Olympics. Hanggang ngayon di pa rin ako makapaniwala na tatakbo ako on behalf of the Filipino overseas worker. I feel proud and privileged at habang buhay ko itong maalala,” he told ABS-CBN Europe.

On July 22, Enteria will do the 300-meter run for the borough of Barking and Dagenham. The torch relay will start on May 19 until the opening day of the Olympics on July 27.

“Gusto ko po sanang punuin ng mga Pilipino yung 300-meter stretch para ipakita na we Filipinos are united as one,” he said.

Apart from the OFWs and his family, he also dedicates his run to fellow occupational therapists and health workers in the Philippines and abroad.

Olympic ambassador and torch bearer

Steven Cheung was nominated by various groups in Waltham Forest because of his exemplary contributions as a youth community leader in the area. Twenty-two year old Cheung was chosen by LOGOC to represent the young people, Filipino and Chinese communities in Britain for the torch relay.

“Proud na proud ako being Filipino and also as an Olympic torchbearer and represent my community in this journey. It’s a once in lifetime opportunity to be involved in the Olympics,” he told ABS-CBN Europe.

Cheung, whose mother is Filipino and whose father is Chinese, will run on July 21 for the borough of Waltham Forest.

“As a Londoner, I am immensely proud of our heritage, roots and community and I am also proud to be able to put Waltham Forest on the map. I am incredibly thankful to LOGOC for their recognition of my hard work and my role for the Olympics,” he said.

Cheung was part of the 2012 Olympics from the beginning having been chosen as one of the Olympic Youth Ambassadors for Waltham Forest. He was involved in a range of activities aimed at empowering the borough’s young people. He was constantly the voice of the young people in the community, inputting ideas and pragmatic solutions to some challenges related to the London Olympics and Paralympics Games.

“As an Olympic Ambassador and torch bearer, I hope to continue to inspire future generations,” he said.

Cheung is the co-founder of SCF foundation which aims to encourage Filipino participation in Britain through trade, social enterprise and involvement in politics. He was the youngest to run for the EU parliament standing as an MP or Member of Parliament candidate in the June 2009 elections.