Opportunities are opening up for Palarong Pambansa gold medalist and talented junior swimmer Jamesray Mishael Ajido, who is being lined up for further intensive training in Japan.
A high school varsity mainstay at La Salle Greenhills under coach and former national swimmer Evan Grabador, Ajido, 14, has been identified by no less than Japanese gymnastics coach Munehiro Kugimiya, who sees Ajido’s huge potential in becoming a future elite athlete.
“Coach Mune (Kugimiya’s nickname) thoroughly went through Ajido’s track record and background and sees him becoming a world-class athlete given the proper coaching and training,” Jun Esturco, the head of KG (Key to Gold) Management, said.
Esturco revealed that Kugimiya is personally handling the preparations so that Ajido can train for at least two weeks in Tokyo, Japan at the world-class swimming facilities of Juntendo University.
Kugimiya, who helped transform Carlos Edriel Yulo into a two-time world champion, aims to scout promising young athletes locally and provide them with the means and opportunity to train and compete overseas with the help of KG Management Inc, he said.
“Carlos Yulo is the first elite athlete that KG Management is now handling. We hope to discover many more like him in other sports,” Esturco said, “choosing not only those with exceptional athletic skills but who are also teachable and have solid character.”
“Yulo and Ajido are just among the first batch of talented local athletes we aim to support for the long haul,” added Esturco of the swimmer, who was first discovered by coach Ramil Ilustre of the Antipolo Gems Sea Scorpions.
“In my seven years in PSI, si James lang ang nakita ko sa boys na may ganyang talent,” noted Philippine Swimming Inc. president Lani Velasco of the outstanding junior tanker.
In the last Palarong Pambansa held in July, the swimmer clocked 56.78 seconds in ruling the men’s 100-meter butterfly event in secondary division, breaking the national junior record of Miguel Barreto of 57.40 in the 2019 edition of the meet held in Davao City.
Ajido brought home three silver medals in 100-meter backstroke and butterfly and 50-meter butterfly events, respectively, from the Southeast Asian Age Group Swimming Championships held in Jakarta, Indonesia last month.
The Grade 8 La Salle Greenhills student was excited and thrilled to train in the prestigious institution.
“I am really excited about it and thank KG Management for the opportunity. Hopefully, this training will help me to be more faster , stronger and lower my times,” said the athlete, whose ultimate dream is to compete in the Olympics and become a world swimming record holder.
“Excited kami for what God has in store for James, He orchestrates events in our lives for His plans and greater purpose, an open door of opportunity from the Lord. It’s about time for Jamesray to level up and I believe that this is God’s direction that our son is headed,” said Ajido’s mother, Lovell, whose family members are renewed Christians.
“We have taught our children to remain humble and give God the glory for all the accomplishments they have done. It’s all about the Lord in James’s life,” she added.
Kugimiya recently launched the Japan Cultural Grassroot Project (JCGP) for gymnastics at the Gymnastics Association of the Philippines Training Center inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.