The Wrestling Association of the Philippines (WAP) targets at least four gold medals from their six member Filipino wrestlers in the 27th Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar.
“We are expecting to win at least four gold medals because our wrestlers have trained in Mongolia, Iran and Bulgaria,” said WAP President Arnold Balde.
Heading Philippines’ campaign this year are defending champions Jason Balabal and Margarito Angana Jr.
Balabal won the gold medal in the Greco-Roman 84 kg in the 2011 SEA Games in Indonesia as well as the bronze medal in the 84 – 96 kg Freestyle. Angana on the other hand won the Greco-Roman 55 kg category gold medal.
Joining the two are wrestlers Joseph Angana (60kg), Alvin Lobrequito (55kg), Jhonny Morte (60kg), and Noel Norada who is entered in the Freestyle 60kg event.
All six wrestlers trained in Iran in preparation for the prestigious biennial meet in the region. Iran is a country with rich wrestling tradition, winning three gold, one silver and two bronze medals in 2012 London Olympics.
Wrestling in Myanmar SEA Games will kick-off on December 9 where Margarito Angana will defend his 2011 title in the Greco Roman 55 kg category.
Also seeing action on the first day of the competition are Alvin Lobrequito and Joseph Angan.
“As of now, we are expecting SEA Games to be more competitive than the previous one since most countries are also progressing,” Balde added. “But I’m really confident that we can still prevail in this sport.”
Vietnam and Thailand are the Philippines’ fiercest rivals in wrestling in the SEAG.
In the 2011 of the Southeast Asian Games, Filipino wrestlers brought home two gold, three silver and three bronze medals.