Filipino grapplers capture 4 golds in UWG Asian Championships in Kazakhstan


FILIPINO grapplers led by Fierre Afan and Maria Aisa Ratcliff have proven the country’s grappling talents are widely strong globally after scooping four gold medals, five silvers and two bronze medals.

Afan showed tremendous poise and power to capture the gold medals in both junior grappling U-20 71-kilogram (kg) No-Gi event and the 71-kg Gi class during the 2023 United World Wrestling (UWW) United World Grappling Asian Championships over the weekend at the Beeline Arena in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Afan bested all four opponents, including Kazakhstan world champion Artem Khvan, in the finals via 9-2 win in the U-20 No-Gi junior category for his first gold, before securing another gold medal with a 3-0 win in Gi 71kg event over Meiirbek Yeskazyyev also of Kazakhstan at his last fight.

Afan, 19, also captured two silver medals in the senior 71 kg class.

Ratcliff, 34, dominated the Gi and No-Gi women’s seniors 53 kg class for two gold medals after sweeping all her four opponents in both her brackets—highlighted by her final battle with Kazakhstan’s Alina Kaskinova whom she beat by 6-5 via points in the gi category.

Wrestling Association of the Philippines (WAP) President Arthur Alvin A. Aguilar has expressed gratitude to his fighters for giving their best and making a history especially to Afan for beating a world champion in his first fight.

“Fierre [Afan] beat a world champion in his first fight. It’s a great performance of our athletes. We’re very happy with the results; but we will not be taking a break and will still be training in preparation for the upcoming World Championships,” Aguilar said.

“I believe the performance of our athletes in that tournament will inspire more athletes to continue their training to be in a world class level, not only that but to win gold everytime they compete,” he added.

Aguilar’s two sons Lukie and Lucho also took home two medals each. Lukie got silvers in No-Gi and Gi boys’ U-17 competitions while brother Lucho had a silver in No-Gi and a bronze medal in Gi U-15 division.

Other medalists were Vince Ortiz (bronze in senior men’s gi 62 kg) and Michael Tabamo (bronze men’s grappling 62 kg).

Meanwhile, Lester del Rosario also participated in the 2023 UWW United World Grappling Asian Championships as the first ever Filipino licensed referee to hold both grappling and wrestling international.

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