MANILA – Six athletes, led by Southeast Asian Games back-to-back gold medalist Margarita Ochoa, will represent the Philippines in the forthcoming Ju-jitsu World Championships in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Ochoa won the women's minus 48-kg category in the 2019 (Manila) and 2022 (Vietnam) SEA Games. She was a three-time world champion and two-time Asian Championships winner.
Also joining the trip are Jenna Kaila Napolis and Ashley Villaret (women's minus 52-kg), Kimberly Custodio (women's minus 45-kg), Myron Mangubat and Jan Cortez (men's minus 62-kg), Brendo Pudan (men's minus 69-kg) and Philip Alegre (men's minus 85-kg).
The World Championships is the team's second international tournament this year after the SEA Games last May.
Coach Allan Co said the athletes are training hard this week before they fly out to Abu Dhabi on Oct. 31. The matches are scheduled on Nov. 2 and 3 at the Ju-Jitsu Arena in Zayed Sports City.
"We had a bronze medal finish before from Kaila. Aside from the national team trials, the team has competed in the Thailand Grand Prix," Co said in an interview on Thursday.
"We have a good chance of winning medals," he added.
Ochoa bagged the bronze medal at the 2018 Asian Games (Indonesia). She won the gold medal at the 2016 Asian Beach Games in Vietnam.
Napolis was a silver medalist at the 2019 and 2022 SEA Games, 2018 Abu Dhabi World Tour Grand Slam (United Kingdom) and 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (Turkmenistan), and a bronze medal winner at the 2016 Asian Beach Games (Vietnam).
Custodio clinched the bronze medal at the 2019 Asian Championships (Mongolia) while Cortez pocketed the gold medal at the 2019 Thailand Grand Prix and 2018 South East Asian Championships (Thailand), and the silver at the 2018 Asian Championships (Kazakhstan). by Jean Manalum (PNA)