Kickboxers aspire Olympics success
Members of the Samahang Kickboxing ng Pilipinas are hoping to make it to the Olympics, taking inspiration from Filipino athletes, who reaped medals in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Southeast Asian Games 2019 gold medalist Jean Claude Saclag believes their day will soon come when they will bring home medals from the ultimate international sporting event.
National pool member and Team Lakay athlete Carlos Alvarez said getting to the Olympics is a life-changing opportunity.
Alvarez said the road to the Olympics starts by giving their best performance in the SEA Games set in Hanoi, Vietnam this year.
Claudine Veloso, a former national boxing pool member, said the boxers’ Olympic win paved the way in leveling the playing field.
SKP Secretary General Wharton Chan said the national kickboxing squad through the Philippine Olympic Committee is lobbying for the inclusion of kickboxing in the Olympics.
During the 138th International Olympic Committee session last year, the federations of kickboxing, Muay Thai, and sambo received full recognition but such recognition did not guarantee inclusion in the next Olympics.
Chan said the newly-recognized sports will make a debut at the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California.
To be recognized by the IOC means the federations have met Olympic charter requirements such as the number of events, global acclaim, and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)-compliant testing programs.
Combat sports currently in the Olympics are boxing, taekwondo, karate, wrestling, and judo.
SKP Coach Mark Sangiao is leading the training of the national athletes, starting their first week of training last week at the Team Lakay’s headquarters in La Trinidad, Benguet.
Sangiao, together with national coaches Randy Caluag, Glen Mondol, and Olympian Donnie Geisler, ensured the athletes will be in their prime condition in time for the SEA Games. – Ofelia C. Empian