ONTARIO – The official 11-member Team Canada, including seven Filipino-Canadians, took home 25 medals at the 2014 World Championship of Performing Arts (WCOPA) held in California.
"When I won all my medals I felt kind of speechless and surprised because I thought I would win less awards. I felt spectacular. It feels really good to be a champion. It feels really good and awesome," said 12-year-old Isaac Cruz.
Cruz took home three gold medals and one silver in the Junior Division.
Bong Castillo won two bronze medals in the Senior Division.
"Regardless of age, parang gusto ko lang malaman anong magagawa ko sa mundo so that's why I tried. I said baka ako lang kako ang pinakamatanda. But I said who cares? May mga matatanda namang singers. It was a great experience. Maganda na I would say na kahit sa dami ng competitors around the world, isa ako sa nabigyan ng medalya kaya masayang-masaya po ako," Castillo said.
They admitted the competition was tough with over 40 countries participating.
"They're so much more advanced in their techniques so that's why it was so hard to place, even just a medal. I didn't know I was gonna get an award so when I saw my face on that screen, I was in shock. When I went up there, I felt like I won a gold. This is really a gold to me," said 18-year-old Monarie Ocray, who won a bronze medal in the senior division.
Other members of Team Canada who won awards are:
Tiffany Lau (Junior Dance) with 4 gold medals;
Isabella Grace Lecomte (Junior Vocal/Dance) with 2 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze medals;
Cheryl Malanum (Junior Vocal) with 1 silver, 2 bronze medals;
Grace Sun (Junior Dance), 2 gold and 1 silver medals; and
Jodi Jahnke (Senior Vocal) with 2 silver and 1 bronze.
WCOPA President Gwen Wilson said this year's team was the most talented to represent Canada.
Team Canada National Director for WCOPA Belinda Reyes said it was her goal to build a stronger and bigger team for the Canada.
"I know there are so many talents here in Canada that can compete in the international level. Unfortunately, the struggle and the challenges that we face for this type of competition, the performing arts is not widely popular in Canada, that's just my personal opinion. These contestants, they work hard to find sponsorships for themselves," she said.