Dumagueteña debut for the U.S. in Rio Olympics

Weeks away from the 2016 Summer Olympics, the delegates are excited and the No. 1 ranked country United States Olympic Team with the most gold and most overall medals is almost complete.

World-class athlete Paula Lynn Obanana, 31-year-old from the City of gentle people, Dumaguete City is set to parade and represent the U.S. in her Olympic debut in Rio. (see photo)

“Before it was only just a dream. When I was little, I was just watching like all these kids, especially US athletes, I’m always watching them in TV. And I just say to myself, ‘I wish one day, I can play in the Olympics.’ And right now, I am playing. I’m really happy… I’m overwhelmed of everything,” said Obanana.

Obanana, was 10 years old when starting to play badminton, she was once a member of the Philippine national team. She also competed in various competitions including the Southeast Asian Games.

Obanana was a Sillimanian, she finished her high school at Silliman University. Back then, she was very active in sports activities in school. She’s a player of volleyball and badminton. After graduated, she decided to pursue her college at De La Salle University.

After finishing college at De La Salle University in 2005, Obanana and her family immigrated to the United States where she continued her badminton career and fulfilled her Olympic dream.

“I am really proud to represent the US. It’s like the No. 1 team in the world. But of course, I give a lot of credit to where my roots, where I started ‘cause without that I couldn’t be here right now,” she said.

Obanana and her partner, Eva Lee, are currently the No. 1 women’s doubles pair in the US and in Pan-America. The pair will compete in the women’s doubles event this coming Olympic Games.

Obanana, who is known for her killer smashes, said that qualifying for the Olympics was not easy.

“To become any Olympian, it is really tough. My training is minimum six hours a day, and it’s been months and months of training, six years in the making. I have to sacrifice my love life… my social life,” she said.

For Obanana to get this far is just the beginning. Her ultimate goal is to bring an Olympic medal back home.

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