JIU-JITSU has a lot of potential to make it big in the country and become a source of medals in more international competitions.
That was the assessment made by the Philippine jiu-jitsu team following its successful campaign in the 2016 Asian Beach Games in Danang, Vietnam.
The Philippine jiu-jitsu squad won two gold, one silver, and two bronze medals in the Asian Beach Games, a fitting follow-up to its 2014 performance where it also ended up with a 1-2-3 gold-silver-bronze output.
One of the gold medalists in this year’s competition, Meggie Ochoa, sees a bright future for the Philippines in the sport that she said is now starting to taking off.
“Napakalaki talaga ang potential dito sa Pilipinas,” said Ochoa on Thursday night during the team’s victory party in Makati organized by the Jiu Jitsu Federation of the Philippines. “Nakita na natin na may mga Pilipino na nanalo sa world level and recently, sa Asian level.”
Ochoa won the gold (women’s -45kg division) in the Asian Beach Games in a year where she also won the IBJJF (International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation) World Championship in Long Beach, United States.
Ochoa beat foes from Vietnam and Thailand to win the gold.
Also winning a gold for the Philippines is Annie Ramirez, who ruled the women‘s -55 kg division two years after taking the same medal in the 2014 edition of the Asian Beach Games.
Ramirez, however, said victory didn't come easy against opponents from Turkmenistan, Lebanon, and Thailand.
“Dahil second time, hindi ibig sabihin madali. Mahirap nga po ‘yung mga nakalaban ngayon,” said Ramirez.
Ochoa sees more people picking up the sport after the team's accomplishment.
“Kayang kaya natin, ano pa ‘yung Southeast Asian level. I think in Southeast Asia, I can honestly say na we are one of the top teams in jiu jitsu. If maging mas widespread ang sport at magkakaroon ng mga programs, grabe ang future ng sport,” said Ochoa.