Filipino Muaythai fighters bagged two gold and one silver medals in the recently concluded 17th International Federation of Muaythai Amateur World Championships in Jonkoping, Sweden.
“We are very proud to report that we have won two gold and one silver [medals]. We see that in every world championships there is a stiff competition. But our athletes really tried to fight even though we are undersized,” said Muaythai Association of the Philippines Secretary-General Luis Rivera Sr. in an interview with The Manila Times on Thursday.
Jessa Rivera (45kgs) and Rudzma Abubakar (42kgs) won the gold medal in their respective divisions while Ghen-Yhan Berdon bagged the silver medal in the 45kgs weight class, both in the juniors’ category.
Rivera, a 2015 Royal World Cup gold medalist, bested participants from Canada and Indonesia.
“First of all, I want to thank God because he gave me the strength I needed that time,” said the 17-year old Rivera of Quezon City.
Abubakar, 15, meanwhile, has proven her mettle against a Russian fighter in the elimination round. She bested a Canadian in the semifinals and an Indonesian in the championship round.
“We had a hard game during her first fight against the Russian, who is a powerhouse in the competition. But we are just fortunate to win that game,” national coach Jay Harold Gregorio said.
On the other hand, Berdon, who was originally scheduled to fight in the 40kgs, fought in the 45kgs division because there were no participants in the latter.
“He is the defending champion in the 36kgs but the lowest weight entry for this year is 40kgs. But when we came in the competition, there was no application apart from our team. So, we had a meeting with MAP officials and coaches whether we will field Berdon in or not.”
“Since Berdon has that fighting skills, we decided to let him play in much higher category. The only problem was his opponent’s height advantage,” added Gregorio.
Jonathan Polosan (63.5kg), Peter Mark Bayaras (57kg), Philip Delarmino (54kg), and Arlyn Ranes (48kg), however, all suffered defeats in the seniors’ category.
The Philippine delegation was led by MAP president Pearl Managuelod and Rivera.
The team is under the tutelage of Roland Claro assisted by Gregorio and Armando Solar.
The Philippine muaythai team is now preparing for two international meets in September namely the Asian Beach Games in Vietnam and the World Youth Championships in Thailand.