Esteban keeps busy by learning, helping during pandemic
MANILA, Philippines — Maxine Esteban was full of zest following her victorious campaigns in the Southeast Asian Games and UAAP.
The 19-year-old fencer out of Ateneo was hoping to build on her triumphs and pair them with the rare opportunity of training with decorated Olympic mentor Andrea Margo.
But like many athletes—national, pro, and amateur—her plans were shelved due to the coronavirus pandemic.
At the same time, Esteban is not like most national athletes. For now, she has put the Olympic dream on the side in favor of her academics.
That choice, if anything, has afforded Esteban a bit of more time during the Enhanced Community Quarantine to focus on myriad things.
Esteban told the Inquirer that she keeps herself in competition shape doing hand and foot exercises at home while in close coordination with Magro—who prior to the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), was priming her for competitions in the United States, Germany, and even China, among others.
Esteban, a bronze winner during the SEA Games, a UAAP Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player, is also trying to keep her mind sharp during isolation.
“To make up for the idle time, I’ve also decided to take up online free courses,” she said. “I took some from Wharton and Yale.”
Esteban said that such an opportunity shouldn’t be glossed over, especially now that “almost nothing is free nowadays.”
“It’s a chance for people to learn for free,” she added.
But even after finishing nine courses, Esteban felt there’s still plenty left to do.
She needed not to look far for a clue.
“Reading forwarded messages and seeing the news made us realize that we should do something to help out,” Esteban said of the initiative which was also inspired by Hidilyn Diaz’s relief drive in her hometown of Zamboanga.
Esteban on April 10 organized a fundraiser and equipment donation drive for the benefit of UST Hospital, UERM Memorial Hospital, National Children’s Hospital, along with select communities in San Juan City.
And with the ECQ going to drag on for a couple more weeks, Esteban said she and her siblings are mulling to mount another relief drive. This time, for the benefit of her fellow sportspeople.
“The next phase, we thought, should be for the athletes and coaches who are very much in need of help,” said Esteban, citing that some of these individuals may be dependent on the government’s subsidy and that the lockdowns may have thrust them into a financial rut.
“I just hope more people out there to support our project,” she added.
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