Aligaga: Boxing’s loss, wushu’s gain
NAYPYITAW, Myanmar—The dearth of opportunities in boxing drove Jessie Aligaga to embrace a sport he hardly knew.
He made the right choice.
Aligaga, 29, added the Southeast Asian Games’ men’s 48 kg sanshou title to his collection of medals on Monday by beating Indonesia’s Dasmantua Simbolon.
The country’s first gold medal in these Games was later followed by fellow sanda warrior Dembert Arcita, who delivered in the 52 kg division gold later.
“Boxing was my first love,” said the power-punching fighter from San Miguel, Iloilo, in Filipino. “But my coach asked me to shift to wushu instead since opportunities in boxing are hard to come by.”
His years of lonely, hard training was rewarded when he nearly made it to the 2008 Beijing Olympics after placing fifth in the 9th World Wushu Championships.
He also salvaged a bronze medal in the previous SEA Games in Indonesia.
Aligaga’s time to shine came last year when he emerged champion, along with Arcita, in the Sanda World Cup in China.
Prior to the Games, he nailed the silver medal in the world championship held in Kuala Lumpur a few months back.
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