1st Regional Wrestling Open 2011

By: Maria Teresa Asuncion

It was an auspicious debut for the 1st Regional Wrestling Open 2011 of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) last October 26-27 at the Brgy. Engineer's Hill Covered Court in Baguio City, with young wrestlers from the northern region showing great promise as the future of Philippine combat sports. Sixteen-year-old athletes Joshua Gayuchan of Ifugao and Michael Feliwa of Benguet displayed mainly raw athleticism and heart in their three championship matches in the Greco-Roman, Freestyle, and Takedown Wrestling Challenge events, respectively.

All final matches were won by the more experienced Gayuchan, who already won two national wrestling championships in his age category in the past. Despite settling for silver medals, the rookie Feliwa made their matches more competitive than expected - scoring his own takedowns against Gayuchan. Impressive performances were also turned out by Arnel Ngolab of Baguio who, like Gayuchan, swept all his matches. Philippine Wrestling Team female members Genivive Biniahan and Peisan Licyayo, both from Ifugao, also emerged champions in their respective weight classes.

Ifugao emerged as team champion, followed by Baguio and third was Benguet. The wrestling teams will meet again in this year's Batang Pinoy games to be held from November 23-27, also in Baguio. Officials of the Wrestling Association of the Philippines (WAP) who organized the event, namely Secretary General Karlo Sevilla, CAR Director Maria Teresa Asuncion, and CAR Scholastic Development Director Erlinda Napiloy plan to make Baguio City the future home of the Philippine Junior Wrestling Team, after witnessing the potentials of the young wrestlers.

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