Combat sports take spotlight
Filipinos take pride in their innate passion for martial arts. It’s not surprising that combat sports always serve as the ticket to success for Filipinos in the global sports stage.
Of the 10 medals won by the Philippines in the Olympics, the most prestigious and biggest sports show on earth, boxers gave the most numbers of medals with Anthony Villanueva and Mansueto Velasco winning silver. Roel Velasco and Leopoldo Serrantes gave the country a bronze medal each.
The third silver medal was delivered by female weightlifter in the last edition of the quadrennial Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Combat sports like karate, wushu, taekwondo have made the country proud in the world stage as well. It’s not surprising indeed that the Philippines will again bank on these disciplines as it goes for the elusive gold medal in the next Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.
The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) have put up united front to make sure in keeping the Filipino warrior spirit by competing regularly in the Asian Martial Arts Games (AIMAG), the 7th edition of which will took place on September 17 to 27 in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
“We will continue to seek ways to discover new talents that will make us proud in the global stage,” said Cong. Mounsour Del Rosario, secretary-general of the Philippine Taekwondo Federation.
Del Rosario, a former Olympian and Asian taekwondo champion, has been designated as Chef De Mission to AIMAG that will be participated in by thousands of athletes from 62 countries in Asia and Oceania.
“We truly believe in the deep warrior spirit of the Filipino athletes,” added Del Rosario, who decided to expand the program by holding a tournament that will help select members of the national team in non-Olympic sports.
Del Rosario, with his assistant chef de mission Raymund Lee Reyes of karate, will organize the Pre-AIMAG tournament, featuring sports like Kickboxing, Kurash, Sambo, Belt Wrestling and Traditional Wrestling on May 29 to June 2 at Harisson Plaza Mall, Manila.
The event is open to all Filipino practitioners and can register with the organizers per sport or directly coordinate with the PSC which is funding the event.
“With this (Pre-Aimag) event, we will showcase new sports that will help our country achieve more medal for the counrty that’s way we featured this new combat sports event because Filipinos are good in combat sports,” said Reyes, secretary-general of the Philippine Karatedo Federation.
“This is also the best time for martial arts groups to unite for the country,” said Reyes, who set kickboxing as good example.
Some of the biggest kickboxing organizations like the Kickboxing and Muay Thai Council of the Philippines, headed by Emmanuel Sabrine, WMKF-Philippines of Gerald Basig, World Kickboxing League-Philippines of Brico Santig have bonded to form the Kickboxing Alliance of the Philippines (KAP).
Other affiliate gyms like martial arts gyms like New Blood MMA, Cerberus, D Elements, Highland Boxing MMA, Yaw-Yan Kampilan, Biagtan MMA, to name a few, have also expressed their support.
“We are very glad that our sport will now be given more chances to be exposed to the new generation. We really should continue our martial arts tradition because of the explosion of mixed martial arts as a professional sport. AIMAG is one of the biggest events where Filipino can show their skills,” said KAP board member Sabrine.
Martial arts along with other disciplines like athletics, chess, cycling, lawn tennis, muay thai, weightlifting, taekwondo, billiards, football, swimming, bowling, dancesport, basketbal and futsal will be featured in the actual AIMAG in Uzbekistan. With reports from Nathaniel Mariano