The Philippine Tarung Derajat team bagged two medals – one gold and one silver – in the recently concluded 2nd Southeast Asia Championship Tarung Derajat held at the Titiwangsa Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Created by Haji Achmad Dradjat of West Java, Indonesia, Tarung Derajat is a combat sport that uses punches, kicks as well as grappling and sweeping.
Jay Harold Gregorio, 28, a national muay thai coach, won the first medal for the Philippines by dominating his Indonesian foe in the finals of the men’s 73-76-kilogram category.
“I am very happy because even though the preparation is short, we were able to win medals in the competition,” Gregorio told The Manila Times on Thursday.
Perlito Siador, also a playing coach, won a silver medal in the men’s 61-64-kg. category.
Siador beat players from Vietnam and Laos in the first two matches before losing to an Indonesian foe in the finals.
“My fight against the Vietnamese was very hard because it caused me several injuries. The organizers told me not to play further or until the doctor’s recommendation. But I said to myself I am going to push through come what the decision would be. Luckily, the doctor gave me a go signal,” said Siador.
Tarung Derajat Association of the Philippines (TDAP) Secretary-General Louie Rivera Jr. said that the Filipino fighters have trained only for two weeks, just in time for the competition.
“They invited us and they sent their top coaches to teach and train our team for 10 days here in the Philippines,” said Rivera.
“The fact that we beat Indonesia, where the sport originated, proves we have a bright future in this sport,” added Stephen Arapoc, president of TDAP and vice-president of Muay Thai Association of the Philippines.
Tarung Derajat was a demonstration sport during the 2011 SEA Games in Palembang, Indonesia.
JEAN RUSSEL V. DAVID