By Waylon Galvez
Chef de Mission Monsour del Rosario believes the Philippines has a strong chance of winning medals in the combat sports events of the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) which starts this Sunday in Ashgabat, Tajikistan.
Jiu-jitsu artist Annie Ramirez and taekwondo jins Samuel Morrison and Kirstie Alora have been tagged as the country’s top bets in the two-week competition, Del Rosario expressed confidence in their chances of earning podium finishes.
“I believe we have several medal contenders… of course what we are hoping for is gold medal,” Del Rosario, the taekwondo legend and head of the Philippine delegation, said.
Nine of the 21 sports disciplines are in combat sports, including kickboxing, kurash, muay thai, sambo, wrestling, belt wrestling and traditional wrestling.
Ramirez is a two-time Asian Beach Games gold medalist in jiu-jitsu, Morrison recently won gold in the Kuala Lumpur Southeast Asian Games and Alora competed in last year’s Rio Olympics.
While Del Rosario is expected to root heavily on athletes in combat sports to deliver in Ashgabat, he is also not counting out the rest of the contingent, particularly Rio Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz of weightlifting.
There’s also cue artists Efren “Bata” Reyes, Francisco “Django” Bustamante, Dennis Orcollo, Rubilen Amit and Chezka Centeno and Fil-American sprinter Eric Cray and veteran long jumper Marestella Torres-Sunang.
Dancesports is also a strong bet to win the gold since the tandem of Jerald Gamili and Cherry Clarice Parcon will be defending their title in the Latic-Jive event of the competition.
“Of course I mentioned combat sports, but definitely will be cheering for every Filipino athlete in the AIMAG, lahat ng lalaban suportado natin… and I hope our countrymen, the whole nation will be praying for our national team athletes,” said Del Rosario.
The Philippine delegation composed of 104 athletes will leave for Ashgabat early Thursday.
Tags: Monsour del Rosario
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