ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan – Alvin Lobreguito lost his opening match in the Traditional Wrestling, but it was enough to hand Team Philippines a bronze medal in the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) at the Ashgabat Olympic Stadium here.
The lack of entries in the 57kg men’s freestyle propelled Lobreguito to a semifinal encounter against Turkman Ýakupnazar Yakubow. Both wrestlers were already assured of a bronze medal even before their bout started.
Egged on by a hometown crowd, Yakubow easily defeated Lobreguito, 4-0, to advance against fellowman Allanur Gocow, who won 4-0 versus Tajikistan’s Faridun Qurbonov.
It was a painful first day of action for the national team as three other Filipino grapplers dropped their respective assignments.
Neomi Tener lost to Ambreen Masih of Pakistan, 4-1, in the 58kg, Grace Loberanes suffered a 5-0 beating from Lacyn Badaglyyewa of Turkmenistan, 5-0, in 52kg, and Johnny Morte fell to Turkman Döwletgeldi Berdiyew, 5-0, in the 68kg.
The 10 Jiu-Jitsu fighters, however, are set to fight Monday.
They are three-time International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation World Championship winner Meggie Ochoa, two-time Asian Beach Games gold medalist Annie Ramirez, Hansel Terence Co, Gian Dee, Mark Lim, Golbert Ambao, Apryl Eppinger, Lou-Ann Jindani and Carolina Pajaron.
In the last AIMAG in Incheon, South Korea back in 2013, the country won one gold medal and two bronze medals.
Indoor Tennis action will start Sunday as Filipino bets Jason Patrombon, Anna Clarice Patrimonio and Khim Iglupas open their campaign, as well as the five-man Muay Thai team.
The 19-year-old Iglupas and the 23-year-old Patrimonio, daughter of former PBA four-time MVP Alvin Patrimonio, will compete together in the women’s singles and will team up in the double’s.
Iglupas and Patrombon will play together in the mixed event.
The preliminary round of Indoor Tennis is set on Sept. 17 to 22, while the medal round will begin on the 23rd. Their respective opening round games will be known after the drawing of lots scheduled Saturday evening.
Meantime, Muay Thai athletes are Philip Delarmino, Ryan Jakiri, Ariel Lampacan, Meri Ann Geli Bulaong and Carrisa Tarapen.
The opening ceremony will be held on Sunday night at the sprawling Ashgabat Olympic Stadium with 116 Filipino athletes competing in 17 sports comprising the Philippine delegation.