The Federation of School Sports Associations of the Philippines (FESSAP) wrestling club has selected all Palarong Pambansa gold medalists as candidates for the Southeast Asian Junior and Cadet Wrestling Championships in Thailand and the World University Wrestling Championship in Corum, Turkey.Leading the list are Ruzzel Tuguinay (54 kg.) and Nathaniel Gullunan (58 kg.) for boys, and Lovelyn Bandao (48 kg.) and Clarissa Mae Hagitan (56 kg.) for girls of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).
“Winners are candidates to see action in the Southeast Asian Junior and Cadet Wrestling Championships. While those who are enrolling in universities as freshmen this school year may be trained and fielded to the 2016 World University Wrestling Championship,” said FESSAP wrestling club director Karlo Sevilla.
The other gold medalists were Heidi Mae Piñon of National Capital Region (40 kg.), and Jiah Pingot (44 kg.) and Lendy Blair Namoc (52 kg.) of Region XI in girls; Delton Mariano of Region VI (42 kg.), Jason Cater of NCR (46 kg.), and Janel Rios of Region VIII (50 kg.) in boys.
CAR ruled the wrestling competition with four gold, three silver and two bronze medals followed by host Davao Region (two golds, three silvers and three bronzes) and NCR (two golds and two bronzes).
“In ten years or earlier, we may see the first batch of our Palarong Pambansa wrestling alumnus getting recruited as varsity members of US collegiate wrestling teams, considering English is our second language,” said Sevilla.
“Just like Puerto Rico’s Jaime Espinal and Franklin Gomez, who were both recruited by and graduated from American universities, and eventually became top international wrestlers and 2012 Olympians. Espinal won silver in the 2012 Olympic Games, while Gomez also won silver in the 2011 World Wrestling Championship,” he concluded.
The 2015 Palarong Pambansa was held in Tagum City with powerhouse NCR winning the overall title both in elementary and high school levels.