LAUS Event Group, San Fernando, Pampanga – At age 36, Filipino judoka Gilbert Ramirez shrugged off a couple of injuries to execute powerful throws and swift sweeps in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games Judo event, securing a silver finish for the Philippines.
“Medyo matigas ‘yung katawan ko, tsaka ilang po ako gumalaw kasi baka mamaya ma-injure po uli. Tulad kanina, may tumira sa’kin [na] uchi-gari (a type of judo throw). Pinilit ko lang umikot, bahala na kung mabali,” he said.
Aiming for gold on his supposedly last competition in the SEA Games, Ramirez settled for second place, and is willing to step back from the limelight to give way for his younger teammates, who he believes already have the potential.
“Gusto ko na po mag-gold. Sayang po ‘yung mga sumusunod sa atin eh. Balak ko po na po kasi mag-retiro para makapasok ‘yung ibang players natin, kasi sayang,” he shared.
The seasoned judoka encourages Filipinos to try out the sport to boost its profile in the country.
He said: “Iniimbita po namin kayo sa Rizal Memorial Stadium. Libre po kami doon. Kapag wala po kayong uniform, kami po ang bahala sa inyo. Basta maparami lang ang mga athletes sa judo.”