MANILA – Buoyed by its success in the recent 30th Southeast Asian Games, the Wrestling Association of the Philippines (WAP) is looking to produce more world-class athletes who can represent the country in the Olympics and other international competitions.
WAP president Alvin Aguilar said Filipinos, like most Asian wrestlers, have the talents to excel in this popular Olympic sport.
“We are very confident that we have the talents to make it all the way to the Tokyo Olympics,” said Aguilar during the 54th “Usapang Sports” by the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) at the National Press Club in Intramuros, Manila on Thursday.
Aguilar said the country is hosting no less than four major international wrestling competitions to help the Filipinos hone their skills in preparation for the coming Tokyo Olympics qualifiers.
“It’s about time we have another Filipino wrestler in the Olympics. If I remember it right, the last time nagkaroon tayo ng (that we have) Filipino wrestler sa (in) Olympics was in the 1980s pa,” explained Aguilar, who was accompanied in the forum by jiu-jitsu champion May Masuda and SEA Games gold medalists Jason Baucas and Noel Norada.
The four WAP-hosted events to be held in the country are the Nationals 2020 scheduled March 7-8 at the Festival Mall in Alabang; the first Asian Grappling Championships on April 2-5; the Asian Championships Under-23 in July and Southeast Asia Championships in November
“After the SEA Games, madami tayong activities (we have a lot of activities). We have the WAP Nationals 2020 at Festival Mall. This is the first time na isama-sama lahat ng (that all events will be included) events under wrestling – freestyle, Greco-Roman, women, grappling, kurash and others,” said Aguilar during the weekly public service sports program sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission, National Press Club, PAGCOR, Community Basketball Association, and HG Guyabano Tea Leaf Drinks.
“In Asian Grappling, more than 30 countries are participating. Sa Under-23 naman, parang ito na yung world championships dahil sasali yun mga talagang magagaling (This is under-23, it is similar to world championship because all world-class wrestlers will join),” added Aguilar.
Aguilar said the WAP is happy that the Philippines has been selected to host the Asian wrestling tournaments this year, owing it to the country’s fairness to run an event.
“Sa grappling, wala naman tumatalo sa atin sa Asia (In grappling, no one beats us in Asia), so we’re going to get the overall championship. Saka ito yung first time na makasali tayo sa lahat ng events dahil dito nga sa ating gagawin (And this is the first time that we can join all the events because we will host it).” (PR)