THE Kurash Sports Federation of the Philippines (KSFP) is getting ready for another intense battle in the coming 2021 Southeast Asian Games scheduled Nov. 21-Dec. 2 in Hanoi, Vietnam.
That’s because the host nation — Vietnam — is reportedly determined to sweep all gold medals at stake in the popular martial art sports introduced in Central Asia.
But 2019 SEA Games women’s kurash gold medalist Estie Gay Liwanen of the Philippine Army is unfazed.
“We just have to continue to work hard even during this pandemic,” said Liwanen during the “Usapang Sports on Air” by the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) via Zoom last Thursday.
Liwanen, who captured the country’s lone gold medal in the women’s 63kg. category during the 2019 SEA Games in Manila, admitted kurash athletes need to get back into face-to-face training as soon as possible.
“Simula nagka-lockdown, puro zoom training lang talaga kami ng mga teammates ko. Yun national team coach namin binibigyan kami ng programa na pwede namin gawin kahit sa bahay,” added Liwanen during the weekly public service program sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and Games and Amusements Board (GAB).
“But I know nakapag-request na din ang NSA namin para magkaroon na kami ng bubble training.Yun po ang ina-antay talaga namin para mabuo at magkasama ang team for face-to-face training. Mahirap kasi mag-praktis kung mag-isa lalo na sa mga contact sports gaya ng kurash,” explained Liwanen, a former Criminology professor at the Philippine College of Criminology.
Liwanen, who also won a bronze medal in judo in the 2005 Southeast Asian Games and silver medal in jiu-jitsu in the 2019 Thailand Open, is bracing for a tough battle in Hanoi.
“Sila (Vietnam) ang defending champion. They won seven out of 10 gold medals when we hosted the SEA Games in Pampanga in 2019. Kaya sigurado mas malakas sila pag sila na ang host sa darating na SEA Games.”
“Sa ngayon hindi pa malinaw ilang ang mga events. Pero I think parang magda-dagdag pa sila ng weight categories kasi sila nga ang host ngayon. Dito sa atin, tig limang weight categories ang men at women. Parang magdagdag po sila ng dalawang weight categories each.”
Liwanen also hopes to compete in other major international competitions this year.
“Bukod sa SEA Games, we expect to compete in the AIMAG (Asian Indoor and Martials Arts Games) at World Martial Arts Games. Pero na-apektuhan din ng pandemic kaya na-postpone. Hinihintay pa din namin kung kelan matutuloy. Sa ngayon, TBA ang nakalagay.”
Liwanen, who also graduated at the University of Baguio and Manila Law College, also said she is hoping to join the national jiu-jitsu team and represent the country.
“Kapag may pagkakataon at magkaroon ng jiu-jitsu competitions, sasali din ako,” claimed Liwanen.
Asked about the plan to include national team athletes in the government’s priority list for the COVID-19 vaccination, Liwanen welcomed the proposal.
“Maganda po yan. Willing naman ako na isa sa mga mauna na mabigyan ng vaccine kapag available na ito. I think it’s safe. Most of the PSG who were given shots are currently fine. So I will take the vaccine para makapag-resume na din kami ng training,” added Liwanen.
The Philippines finished a fighting third overall behind Vietnam and Thailand in 2019 SEA Games kurash competitions held at the Laus Group Event Center in San Fernando, Pampanga on Dec.1-2.
The Filipinos captured one gold medal by Liwanen and two silvers by Jenielou Mosqueda in the women’s 57 kg. and Bianca Mae Estrella in the women’s 70 kg.
The bronze medals came from Al Rolan Llamas in the men’s 66 kg., Lloyd Dennis Catipon in the men’s 73 kg.,Rick Jayson Senales in the men’s 90 kg., Helen Dawa in the women’s 52 kg. and Sydney Sy in the women’s +70 kg.
Vietnam topped the event with seven golds, one silver and two bronzes, while Thailand placed runner-up with two golds, two silvers and two bronzes.Publication Source : People's Tonight