by Waylon Galvez
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan — Alvin Lobreguito gave the Philippines its first medal after settling for the bronze following his semifinal defeat Saturday in Traditional Wrestling in the fifth Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) at the Ashgabat Olympic Stadium.
Lobreguito lost to the host nation’s Ýakupnazar Yakubow, 4-0, in the 57kg freestyle, but with only four entries in the division, the Filipino entry was assured of a bronze even before the start of the match.
Yakubow overpowered Lobreguito in just 30 seconds to the delight of about 5,000 crowd that cheered their countryman.
Even with the setback, Lobreguito is expected to receive P400,000 for earning a bronze medal from the government, through the Philippine Sports Commissioner (PSC), based on RA 10699 (Cash Incentives Act).
The other Filipino fighters, Noemi Tener, Johnny Morte and Grace Loberanes, likewise lost in the quarterfinal round of this multi-sports event organized by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA).
Tener lost to Ambreen Masih of Pakistan, 4-1, in the 58kg, Loberanes dropped her match against Lacyn Badaglyyewa of Turkmenistan, 5-0, in 52kg, while Morte fell to Turkman Döwletgeldi Berdiyew, 5-0, in the 68kg.
The competitions in both traditional wrestling as well as in jiu-jitsu kicked off Saturday ahead of the opening ceremony Sunday afternoon at the main stadium.
The jiu-jitsu fighters, however, had the luxury of rest for one day after their schedules in their respective categories were moved to Monday.
The draw is set Sunday evening.
The 10 jiu-jitsu entries are Margarita “Meggie” Ochoa, a three-time champion in International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation World Championship, two-time Asian Beach Games gold medalist Annie Ramirez, Hansel Terence Co, Gian Dee, Mark Lim, Golbert Ambao, Apryl Eppinger, Lou-Ann Jindani and Carolina Pajaron.
The country is hoping to surpass its measly one-gold, two-bronze medals collection in the last AIMAG in Incheon, South Korea, and Chef de Mission Monsour del Rosario is upbeat that it can be achieved.
“I’m pretty optimistic, athletes are relaxed and they seemed to be confident,” said del Rosario, a one-time Olympian.
The campaign of the Philippines continues Monday as tennis players Jeson Patrombon, Anna Clarice Patrimonio and Khim Iglupas, and fighters from Muay Thai take the spotlight.
A veteran of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, the 24-year-old Patrombon is the country’s lone enter in the men’s single’s of the indoor tennis, and he will team up with Iglupas in the mixed doubles.
Tags: AIMAG, Alvin Lobreguito, Ambreen Masih, Anna Clarice Patrimonio, Apryl Eppinger, Ashgabat Olympic Stadium, Asian Beach Games, Grace Loberanes, International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation World Championship, Johnny Morte, Lacyn Badaglyyewa, Martial Arts Games, Monsour del Rosario, Noemi Tener, Olympic Council of Asia, Philippine Sports Commissioner, Philippines, Traditional Wrestling, Turkmenistan
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