Noel soldiers on with his badminton life despite loss of his beloved sister
Hours after landing in Jakarta from Manila on July 19 for "upgrading" as an umpire during the Badminton Asia Junior Championships 2017 he received the sad news of the passing of his beloved sister.
However, Noel Mauricio de Leon, one of the up and coming badminton umpires from the Philippines, chose to stay on in Jakarta, to fulfill the wish of his late sister Maria Teresa Fenida M. de Leon, 45.
Noel, 41, a bachelor, looked after Maria since she was diagnosed with stage four bone cancer in August last year. He posed for a picture with his sister - who gave her brother the blessings for the trip to Jakarta - before he left their home in Tarlac City in Luzon.
This is Noel's third upgrading as umpire. His first was in Kota Kinabalu 2013 followed by Hanoi, Vietnam in 2014.
Noel, who teaches in College of Education, at the Tarlac State University in Tarlac City, was prepared for the worse when he left home for Jakarta. However, the sad news of Maria's demise still left shocked.
"My late sister knew of my love for badminton. She was an inspiration to me and never stopped encouraging me from upgrading my badminton 'career' ... which is one of the reasons I am here," said a sobbing Noel.
However, Noel will still get to his sister for the last time when he returns home on July 31. Maria's funeral will be held on Aug 3 - in time for him and his brother, who lives in Sydney, to pay their last respects.
For all the sacrifices Noel returns home with good news that he was one of the 11 candidates who passed his upgrading in the Badminton Asia Junior Championships 2017.