Teen gymnast Jessica Rayne Tijam started the year 2020 with a bang as she nabbed four silvers from two international rhythmic gymnastics competitions in the United States – and she is poised to soar even higher.
The 15-year-old Philippine National Athlete in rhythmic gymnastics, where athletes perform on the floor with different apparatusesーor instrumentsーlike the hoop, ball, clubs, and ribbon, delivered strong performances in her first competitions this year in the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) Level 10 Senior Category.
Jessica Rayne Tijam enjoyed a silver medal finish for the Philippines in the clubs event at the 10th Las Vegas Invitational held on January 17-20, 2020.
Tijam scored Top 10 rank overall against 17 other gymnasts from the United States and Canada in competitions hosted by EuroGymnastics held at the Centennial Hills YMCA in Nevada.
Within days after her strong performance in Las Vegas, Tijam again garnered three silver medals at the Rhythmic Los Angeles Gymnastics Invitationals held from January 30 to February 2.
Tijam excelled in RhythmicLA’s three events: the hoop, ball, and ribbon, and also received recognition for placing fourth for the club event.
Jessica Rayne Tijam placed Top 2 out of nine competitors in Rhythmic Los Angeles, finishing with a score of 70.600.
Tijam actually began competing as a senior level gymnast in December 2019 at the U.S. Holiday Cup, bagging gold for hoop and clubs, silver for ball, and ribbon. The Emerald City Academy of Rhythmic Gymnastics 10th grade student bagged Gold all around in her first outing as a FIG senior.
The California-based Tijam started carrying the Philippine flag in competitions in 2019 after she chose to sign up with the Philippine National Women’s Rhythmic Gymnastics Team despite being a favored top-ranking gymnast in the United States. Her photo has been used in USA Gymnastics promotional posters with her silhouette gracing the official logo. Jessica makes the grade every year in the national qualifiers event in the U.S., but had to decline in 2019 as she started officially representing the Philippines as a member of the Gymnastics Association of the Philippines.
Tijam is Filipino-American, born in the United States of immigrant parents Janine and Ray from Cavite, and was brought up with love for all things Filipino. Her family and supporters have been funding her competitions since she started competing at age 7.
Her mother, Janine Tijam, revealed to GoodNewsPilipinas.com how the young Tijam decided in 2018 to sign up for the Philippine National Team and work with the Gymnastics Association of the Philippines.
Her first official competition as a Philippine National Athlete was at the Captain’s Cup held at the Cuneta Astrodome in January 2019 where Jessica emerged with 5 golds and the highest score among 265 gymnasts from 6 competing countries.
In an interview with GoodNewsPilipinas.com editor Aurora Quadra Balibay, Jessica Rayne Tijam was asked who she’d acknowledge and thank for her performance and her answer showcases her gratitude and humility, as well as a deep spirituality.
She says, “I credit my great performance to my parents, coaches, and supporters, and prayer warriors from all over the world who are always willing to sacrifice their time and energy to help me get to where I am today. I am grateful for even the smallest things everyone does to help me, whether it may be working with me for half an hour, donating money for one of my big trips, or even the simple act of praying and sending positive vibes my way when I compete.
“Most of all, however, I credit God for the path He has set me on and where He plans to take me in the future. He has given me so many opportunities and miracles in my life, giving me the strength I need to perform to the best of my abilities with every competition.
“Before competitions, I go to church to pray and light a candle for guidance during my time on the carpet. I even put holy water all over my apparatus, leotards, and my body to give me God’s blessing from above.”
When asked if she’ll represent the country for the upcoming Summer Olympics where fellow Filipino gymnast Carlos Edriel Yulo has already qualified, Jessica’s mother says they aren’t quite sure if she can qualify as this is her first year in the senior division and she will only turn 16 (the Olympics minimum age requirement) in June, although it’s her goal. They agree that further competitions and assignments will help turn her goals to reality and give her the chance to claim the elusive Olympics gold for the Philippines.
Jessica Rayne Tijam will next compete in Budapest this February 18.
Jessica’s fellow Filipino rhythmic gymnasts, Breanna Labadan and Danielle dela Pisa, together won five gold medals from European tilts last year.
Also a proud Pinoy gymnast is Carlos Edriel Yulo, who became the first Southeast Asian to win gold and a championship title at the World Gymnastics Championships held in Germany in 2019.
SEND CONGRATULATIONS in the comments below to Jessica Rayne Tijam and her team for her Rhythmic Gymnastics silver medals and strong performances at the start of 2020!
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