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INQUIRER SPORTS Top 7 Stories of the Year: Meggie Ochoa and her Fight to Protect

By: - Reporter / @BLozadaINQ
/ 10:05 PM December 29, 2018

MANILA, Philippines—Meggie Ochoa’s exploits on and off the mat were hard to miss, making her campaign this year no.3 in INQUIRER.net’s top 7 sports stories of 2018.

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Ochoa made history when she nabbed the gold medal in the 49-kilogram division in the JiuJitsu World Championship in late November in Malmö, Sweden.

The Filipino martial artist was the first in the country and in Asian to win the top prize jiujitsu worlds after she defeated Canada’s Ni Ni Vicky Hoang, 2-0, in the final.

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READ: Meggie Ochoa makes history, wins gold in World Championships

She also won gold in the JiuJitsu World Tour in March and another third-place finish in the Asian Games in Indonesia in September.

While it had been a productive year for her in jiujitsu, it’s her advocacy outside the mat that speaks volumes of her heroism.

Ochoa launched the campaign “Fight to Protect” to help spread awareness on child sexual violence in the Philippines.

“We need to work together because the issue is so bad and it so complex,” said Ochoa in a previous Inquirer special report. “What we really need to do is ‘Fight to Protect’ Filipino children.”

READ: Her biggest fight 

The United Nations international Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) in 2016 tagged the Philippines as the world epicenter of online child pornography and sexual trade.

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“A lot of times, sexual abuse leads to depression or sometimes, if it’s not addressed, the child even becomes the perpetrator in the future when they grow up,” said Ochoa. “So it becomes this whole vicious cycle, that will lead to other social problems.”

READ: Jiu-jitsu star Meggie Ochoa launches ‘Fight to Protect’ movement vs child sexual abuse

Ochoa knows the grim reality that even though child sexual violence is a prevailing problem, it’s not a constant topic in the public consciousness and this is where “Fight to Protect” hopes to make a difference.

“It’s an awareness campaign to get people talking about the issue,” said Ochoa. “I really believe that anyone can do something—no matter how big or small—to help.”

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