Lobreguito delivers PH’s first medal in 5th AIMAG
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan — Wrestler Alvin Lobreguito pocketed the first medal for the Philippines in the 5th Asian Indoor andMartial Arts Games (AIMAG) on Saturday.
Though the 25-year-old Filipino grappler missed a golden opportunity following his semifinal defeat, Lobreguito automatically put a lock on the bronze medal since there were only four entries in his weight division.
Yakupnazar Yakubow of Turkmenistan pinned Lobreguito to the ground early in the first round to clinch victory by clear technical advantage, 4-0, and move on to the gold-medal match of the men’s freestyle -57kg.
Lobreguito, a Southeast As i a n and Aus t r a l a s i a n wrestling tournament champion, will join fellow bronze medalist Faridun Qurbonov of Tajikistan after the latter lost his semifinal face-off with Allanur Gocow of host Turkmenistan.
Gocow has forced an allTurkmenistan finale with Yakubow following a convincing 4-0 win over Qurbonov before a wildly cheering crowd at the Main Indoor Arena of the sprawling Ashgabat Olympic Stadium.
While Lobreguito is set to stand proudly at the medal podium, f e l l ow P i n o y wrestlers Jhonny Morte, Noemi Tener and Grace Loberanes fell to their respective opponents in the quarterfinals.
With the bronze medal hanging around his neck, Lobreguito is bound to receive a cash incentive of P400,000 from the government.
A gold medal in the 62country AIMAG is worth P2 million while a silver and bronze will fetch P1 million and P400,000, respectively.
“We got unlucky during the draw. Most of our opponents are entries from the host country,” said wrestling coach Maria Cristina Vergara.
Dowletgeldi Berdiyew of host Turkemistan threw Morte to the mat for a powerful takedown in just two seconds of the opening round for a convincing 5-0 triumph in the men’s freestyle -68kg category.
Tener seemed ready to engage Ambreen Masih of Pakistan in a rough duel only to get pinned down twice within 21 seconds.
Masih advanced to the semifinals of the women’s freestyle -58kg after scoring victory by clear technical advantage, 4-1, in the first round.
Loberanes experienced the same fate as Tener after losing her quarterfinal bout against Lacyn Badaglyyewa of Turkmenistan, 5-0, in the women’s freestyle -52kg division.
These wrestlers are part of the 116-athlete Philippine delegation which will play in 17 sports as the Games go in full swing starting tomorrow after Sunday night’s opening ceremony at the 35,000-seater Ashgabat Olympic Stadium. —