The Wrestling Association of the Philippines (WAP) came through with ground-breaking record following a monstrous 33-gold medal haul in the recent Southeast Asian Wrestling and Grappling Championship 2018.

Wrestling’s traditional events of Greco Roman and the men’s and women’s Freestyle took centerstage at the Dalubhasaang Lungsod ng San Pablo (DLSP) in the City of San Pablo, Laguna but the non-traditional and associated styles proved to be the pot of golds for the Philippines.

Introduced for the first time in the regional meet were Gi and No-Gi Grappling, Pankration and Beach Wrestling where the Filipinos grabbed 24 out of their total gold medal haul.

The Go For Gold backed Team Philippines achieved the feat against the finest grapplers from Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, as well as Australia from the Asia-Pacific.

“This is a proof that the Philippines will dominate in this category in Asia,” said Wrestling Association of the Philippines Alvin Aguilar.

“Big credit goes to our hardworking secretary-general Marcus Valda who made sure that our athletes are well-prepared and trained for the event as he will continually do in future international tournaments,” added Aguilar.

Aguilar said the United World of Wrestling (UWW) recently announced the formal inclusion of Gi and No Gi Grappling alongside the traditional Freestyle, Greco Roman and Women’s Freestyle Wrestling in the next SEA Games to be hosted by the Philippines next year.

“With feat achieved by WAP, it’s a promising sign of a successful SEA Games ahead.”

The rest of the medals of the Team Philippines came from traditional wrestling events—Greco Roman and Freestyle with veteran grapplers Margarito Angana and Michael Vijay Cater ruling their respective weight classes in the Greco Roman event together with Noel Norada.

Angana has not lost the skills that made him a two-time SEA Games gold medalist after defeating Plyabut Wiratul of Thailand in the men’s 60kg while Cater took the 55kg title at the expense of another Thai, Nattawut Keawkhanchum, before Norada made it three in a row by submitting Vietnam’s Pham Van Co.

Luke Cruz topped the 125kg category in men’s freestyle after beating Dimas Septo Anueraha of Indonesia in the finals, joining women freestyle gold medalists Minalyn Foy-os (57kg) and Noemi Tener (68kg) on the podium.

“We’re very proud our wrestlers. We believe that with our support, they can win more gold medals for the country,’’ said Go For Gold Philippines godfather Jeremy Go.

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