June 13, 2024

HER SIDE OF THE COURT | Meggie Ochoa's response to SEA Games silver medal is a masterclass in resilience

HER SIDE OF THE COURT | Meggie Ochoa
Art by Royce Nicdao/One Sports' Paolo del Rosario

The two-time brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion Meggie Ochoa is an inspiration on and off the mat, having founded the non-profit organization Fight To Protect, which teaches martial arts and life skills to children who have survived abuse.

She was a favorite to bring home a gold medal in the most recent Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in Cambodia. Early on, she won a match where her opponent tapped out in just 28 seconds. But in the final, Meggie had to settle for silver after losing to Cambodia's bet in the women's ne-waza no gi -52kg event. During the match, Meggie suffered an injury that saw her carried out of the event. Despite this setback, Meggie's response to her silver medal teaches us a lot about resilience.

In a series of Instagram posts following the competition, Meggie provided her own analysis of what caused the loss, her reflection on the events, and her outlook moving forward. 

‘I cannot be disappointed, I did my best’

"I always question myself and even ask God when I lose, whether I brought glory to Him or now,” Meggie wrote. “And somehow, the Lord answered through all of you that have showered me with heartfelt and encouraging messages.”

When reflecting on her performance at the SEA Games, Meggie said, "Most people only see the color of the medal that you bring home. This year, I brought home the silver medal from the SEA Games, but looking back at everything, I really cannot be disappointed with the result...I did my best while overcoming many challenges leading to this medal.”

Meggie has gone up in weight classes over the years: from 45 kg in the 2019 SEA Games, to 48 kg in the 2022 edition, and under 52 kg this year. As an athlete with a naturally small appetite, she admits that the eating was almost as difficult as the training—with Meggie likening it to “force-feeding [her] self.”

“Apart from the weight gain, fighting in the no gi [for the first time] was a huge step outside my comfort zone,” she adds. Despite this, Meggie also acknowledged that learning no gi for the SEA Games opened up a whole new aspect of jiu-jitsu for her.

"It actually grew my love and appreciation for the sport," she said. "It also allowed me to have a more submission-based game, which is what I lack in the gi. Confession: I love no gi more than gi now!"

‘A huge lesson learned’

Meggie also accepted that she made a mistake during her last match. "But no, I did not lose because this was a heavier weight class or because I'm not used to doing no gi," she said. "I lost because I made a mistake by staying too focused on finishing my opponent in my last match the way I wanted to, even when it wasn't being effective anymore...This was a huge lesson learned for me, and I can't wait to have more effective jiu-jitsu in the upcoming competitions by making the necessary adjustments."

In her final post, Meggie expressed her gratitude and resilience: "So yes, even if this is a silver medal finish, I really am grateful...thank you to all of you who expressed concern and comfort, messaging me whether you knew me personally or not. I appreciate all of you and want to assure you that I will be back soon."

Meggie's reflections provide valuable insights into how an elite athlete like her can handle her defeat with resilience and grace. She accepted that losing is a part of the process and recognized that the journey towards success is filled with many obstacles.

Even though she didn't bring home the gold medal, Meggie remains an inspiration and we can’t wait to see her back on the floor after she recovers. Laban, Pilipina!