Qualifying meet set for PH martial artists
Over a thousand Filipino fighters from various combat disciplines have yet to showcase their skills in the international arena.
Some of them could luckily earn the rare chance to wear the national colors if they make the grade in a qualifying tournament for the forthcoming Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Turkmenistan.
Aimag deputy chef de mission Raymund Lee Reyes announced Monday that the Philippine Sports Commission and Team Philippines Aimag Task Force have organized a qualifying meet for five combat sports without a recognized national sports association.
The five-day tournament starting May 29 at the Harrison Plaza in Manila will feature fighters at least 18 years old who will clash for national spots in kickboxing, kurash, jiu-jitsu, sambo, belt wrestling and traditional wrestling.
Except for jiu-jitsu, all five disciplines have no NSA recognized by the Philippine Olympic Committee and backed by the government through the PSC.
“This is their chance to showcase their talent. We’re expecting a huge turnout during the qualifier,” said Reyes, secretary general of the Philippine Karatedo Federation.
The 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (Aimag) is set Sept. 17-27 in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan where 62 countries will participate, including 17 from Oceania led by Australia and New Zealand.
Reyes said they’re looking at 100 to 150 Filipino athletes from 19 of 21 sports in the Aimag. He added the target is to bring home five to seven gold medals with Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz expected to achieve the feat.
The Philippines captured one gold and a bronze courtesy of Latin-Jive performers Jerald Gamili and Clarice Parcon of dancesport in the 2013 Aimag held in Incheon, South Korea and another bronze courtesy of Rubilen Amit in the women’s 10-ball singles.