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Jiu jitsu bets eye Asiad

After winning gold medals for the Philippines in the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) last week, jiu jitsu fighters Annie Ramirez and Meggie Ochoa are now focusing their attention on the 18th Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games next year.

“That’s the next big tournament we’re preparing for,” said Ochoa yesterday. “Considering the AIMAG results, I can say that jiu-jitsu is a strong medal contender in the Asian Games.”

“It’s going to be tough, just like the AIMAG… definitely it’s going to be tougher because it’s the Asian Games. But we’ll prepare for it with some international meets this year and next.”

The 27-year-old Ochoa, a three-time world champion in the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF), defeated Dao Le Thu Trang of Vietnam in the gold medal game of the Ne-Waza -45kg of AIMAG in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

Ramirez, the two-time Asian Beach Games gold medal winner, won the gold medal in AIMAG in the women’s Ne-Waza -55kg weight category after downing compatriot Jenna Kaila Napolis.

Ramirez said the national team is still looking for international tournaments this year.

The Asian Games is set Aug. 18 to Sept. 2 next year.

“It will be finalized soon,” said the 26-year-old Ramirez.

The Asian Games will feature three categories in women’s jiu-jitsu.

Organizers of the continental meet already announced the inclusion of two events – the -45kg weight where Ochoa fought and -62kg weight where Apryl Eppinger, a member of the national team, regularly competes.

Ramirez said that she is hoping for the -55kg to be included so she can compete in her regular weight. If not, she will be then forced to go up the higher weight category and join Eppinger. (Waylon Galvez)