PROMISING grappler Fierre Proudhon Afan qualified for the 2023 World Combat Games later this year after settling for a bronze-medal finish in the World Combat Games qualifier grappling men’s event recently at the Yunusobod in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Afan, 18, scored a 4-3 win over Armenian Suren Khurdayan via high amplitude throw in the battle for the bronze in the M Gi Seniors 71-kg class and automatically clinched a ticket in the World Combat Games slated on October 21 to 30 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
“I’m very proud of him, he is a pure Filipino. When he was younger, he fought and got third in the World Grappling Championships,” said Alvin Aguilar, the president of Wrestling Association of the Philippines. “Now, he is heading to the World Combat Games as our first qualified combat athlete.”
Aguilar referred to the last 2021 United World Wrestling Junior and Cadets World Grappling Championships in Ufa, Russia.
During the preliminary rounds, Afan bested Venezuelan Geiker Rafael Ferrer Torrealba and Iranian Iman Aghapour, but lost to Uzbekistan’s Feruzbek Urokov in a very close fight before meeting his Armenian foe in the battle for bronze.
Aguilar, the Philippines’ Chef de Mission for the World Combat Games, expressed his delight on Afan’s accomplishment noting that this is the first time that any Filipino has qualified for the World Combat Games.
“As the CDM of World Combat Games, we are excited to see him compete there. This is the first time any Filipino has qualified for this. He was up against all sorts of older and seasoned competitors,” Aguilar added.
Also the longtime chief trainer of Afan, Aguilar said he is eyeing to put the Marikina resident in a secluded training camp prior to the games to enhance his skills. Afan is a member of the DEFTAC since he was younger.
Afan is the only Filipino fighter to qualify for the World Combat Games after other Philippine combat sports did not participate in their respective qualifiers.
He returned on Tuesday in Manila along with grappler Nathanielle Vince Ortiz (66 kg), coaches Lester del Rosario and Michael Sayson Tabamo.
Ortiz lost his matches and didn’t qualify.