Jessie Aligaga and Divine Wally open the Philippines’ campaign in the 2013 Southeast Asian Games in the wushu competitions today at the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium here.
Although the formal opening of the Games will be on December 11, Aligaga and Wally will already be competing for the Philippines in the 48kg sanshou event where they are expected to be favored in the tournament.
Aligaga had won the World Wushu Championships in 2011 before finishing second in the same event just last month in Kuala Lumpur, losing only to China during the final round.
Wally, on the other hand, will be competing in her second senior level tournament after taking a silver medal in the Asian Junior Wushu Championships finishing only second to a Chinese bet last August in Manila.
Wushu Federation Philippines secretary general Julian Camacho is confident about the chances of his wards today which will usher in the Philippines’ campaign in the biennial meet.
“Mayroon tayong world champion in Jessie. Si Divine, although baguhan siya, matapang at malakas naman ang loob niya at maganda ang showing niya, kaya we have a good chance in the 48kg,” said Camacho, whose wards trained in China in preparation for the SEA Games.
Philippine chef de mission Jeff Tamayo is also banking on wushu to deliver to start off the country’s campaign on a high note.
“Unique itong SEA Games in a sense that naka-focus tayo sa martial arts. Dito mangagaling ang mga medalya natin. We made several changes in the line-up of martial arts to better our chances for a gold,” said Tamayo.
Camacho is also confident that the Philippines will be able to surpass its two-gold showing in the last SEA Games in Indonesia two years ago.
“Ang binigay natin na order sa mga atleta natin, dapat mas marami tayong gold medal sa last SEA Games. We are predicting a minimum of three to five sa wushu
Aside from Aligaga and Wally, also competing in sanshou are Francisco Solis (men’s 56kg), Evita Elisa Zamora (women’s 52kg). John Keithley Chan, Norlene Ardee Catolico, Daniel Parantac, Kariza Kris Chan, and Natasha Enriquez will be competing in taolu.
Also competing before the formal opening of the SEA Games are athletes from boxing, basketball, wrestling, pencak silat, women’s football, sepak takraw, canoe kayak, equestrian, shooting, and cycling.