THE 8th Women’s Martial Arts Festival presented by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) is expected to serve as breeding ground for more young and talented female athletes.
Muaythai Association of the Philippines secretary-general Pearl Managuelod, Pilipinas Sambo president Paolo Tancontian and Philippine Judo Federation head Ali Sulit agreed that the annual competition is a good way to discover new talents who could someday represent the country in international competitions.
“We’re very thankful to the PSC for organizing this annual event aimed at encouraging more women to take up sports and martial arts,” said Managuelod during the People Sports Conversation last Thursday.
Managuelod, also a board member of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), said the six-day festival also supports the worldwide campaign of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to promote gender equality and empower both women and girls.
She lauded PSC Commissioner Bong Coo for taking the initiative to promote Women’s Martial Arts Festival on Nov. 12-17 at the Philsports Arena in Pasig and Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila in support of Republic Act No. 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women.
“Commissioner Bong is a staunch supporter of women in sports. Before her appointment to the PSC, she was a very active advocate of women sports development in the POC. I’m sure she will continue this advocay in the PSC,” added Managuelod.
She said the POC is still looking for another dependable female sports leader to take the place of Coo.
“Right now, the POC is still working very hard to achieve our target of having more female athletes and officials as directed by the IOC. Some NSAs are still working on it, but in MAP, we already have several internationally-accredited female officials.”
Asked about the muay thai competitions in the coming festival, Managuelod said MAP has prepared six combat sports and two non-combat sports in a one-day event on Nov. 16.
“It’s going to be very exciting day for all of us, especially after the two-year hiatus because of the pandemic. Our muay thai artists are all very excited to showcase their talents. We’ll have the best of the best, kaya siguradong bakbakan ito,”said Managuelod.
“These categories will be in the AIMAG in Thailand next year. And since makakasabay ito ng ating national championship, we will feature some of our elite and local athletes. Yun mga mananalo dito, they will be also competing in the national championship.The final selection will be in the nationals.”
Added Managuelod: “We are also introducing two new events na wala dati sa AIMAG. These are the non-combat events, na idinagdag nila.The traditional dance form and choreographed fighting. Magpapalaro tayo nito at magpa-qualifying din. Madami ang gustong mag-represent ng bansa dito, kaya very exciting ito sa muay thai community.”
“In fact, in the last IFMA World Championships, we bagged the gold medals in both senior category kaya alam natin malakas tayo sa dalawang categories ito na parehong non-combat events.”
Tancoantian, on the other hand, said Sambo Pilipinas is very happy to be included in the Women’s Martial Arts Festival for the first time.
“In sambo, we have four categories, na kasama sa AIMAG. Eto yung two combat sambo events na alam nating talagang bakbakan. Para itong amateur MMA. The other two weight categories are sports sambo,” said Tancontian.
Judo, which is one of two demo sports in the coming festival, also hopes to discover new athletes.
”We welcome this opportunity to be a part of the Women’s Sports Festival. although judo is not included in next year’s AIMAG,” said Sulit, who succeeded David Carter as head of the judo associati⁷on.
“But if you look closely at statistics, most of our medalists in judo in the past three SEA Games are women. Although all our athletes are working very hard, ang talagang mga nag-me-medalya yun mga kababaihan natin.They really excel in combat arts. Kaya naman itong festival na ito is one of those things that really honor our women,” stressed Sulit, adding he also hopes to discover more talented judokas during the festival.