IN a bid to level up the training of elite and junior athletes of the country’s men’s artistic team, the Gymnastics Association of the Philippines (GAP) has tapped the services of a Japanese coach for the next 12 months.
Munehiro Kugimiya recently arrived in the country to start training members of the national pool team and other potential gymnasts. The 28-year-old Japanese served as coach for four years at the Juntendo University, known for its School of Medicine and its School of Health and Sports Science, has a post-degree course in sports science, and is a licensed international judge since 2009.
The one-year training program under Kugimiya was made possible by the GAP through the support of the Philippine Good Works Foundation, Japan-based Zippy Action Foundation, and the Philippine Sports Commission.
GAP president Cynthia Carrion formally presented the Japanese coach to the media on Wednesday accompanied by Zippy Action Foundation managing director Ryo Shirai along with Philippine Olympic Ciommittee secretary-general Steve Hontiveros, commissioner Akiko Thomson of the Philippine Sports Commission, and gymnastics coaches Luminita Eftimiu and Roel Ramirez.
‘I can train elite gymnasts and all the other children interested to learn artistic gymnastics. While I dream to institute focus and high-performance training for the national men’s artistic team to make them highly competitive, initially, in the Asian level at least, I would love to see more children and teens in the gym during weekends trying and doing rounds of artistic gymnastics with me,” said Kugimiya.
Carrion said the move to hire the services of Kugimiya is consistent with the goals of GAP to make 'our Filipino gymnasts at par with the best of Asia and the world, and to widen our base of gymnasts."
Kugimiya’s arrival is the start of what could be an activity-filled schedule for Filipino gymnasts in the next one-and-a-half years.
Eftimiu said the Filipino gymnasts will compete in an international competition – their first in two years – on October 24, and then see action in the Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships next year.