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PIA Press Release

Dumaguete Muaythai fighters bring home medals from RP Olympic festival

by Rachelle Nessia

Dumaguete City (21 September) -- Six young Muay Thai fighters from the Dumaguete-Negros Oriental Muaythai Team emerged victorious after they brought home six medals at the conclusion of the 2nd Philippine Olympic Festival held in Iloilo City on Sept. 10 to 16.

Two of the six clinched gold medals, namely: Dexter Melon, 16, in the 54 to 57 kg. category and Junjun Sinco, 18, in the 45 to 48 kg. category.

The silver medallists are Cris Lingcong, 16, in the 51 to 54 kg. category and Crisna Limbaga, 18, in the 45 to 48 kg. category while the bronze medallists are John Rey Bendijo in the 42 to 45 kg. category and Romnick Carbellido.

Melon, Sinco, Lingcong and Carbellido are out-of-school youths but since they brought fame to the city, Mayor Agustin Perdices have reportedly promised to reward them with college scholarships at the Negros Oriental State University.

The said athletes were closely trained by Ike Xavier Villaflores, a teacher of Junob National High School who heads the Negros Oriental Muaythai Team. Standing as the team's coach is Bernabe Bustillo, a teacher of Dumaguete City High School who is also the president of the Dumaguete Muaythai Association.

In their preparation for the festival in Iloilo, the athletes had to devote three hours of training everyday not only for Muaythai but the Filipino martial art Arnis as well.

Their efforts have obviously paid off. "We also had to spend one hour every Sunday for running to boost our physical endurance. We also had to avoid all sorts of vices and no junk foods," said gold medal winner Junjun Sinco.

Instructors like Bustillo and Villaflores, poured in 15 hours each week to oversee the training of the six fighters, making sure that they were in tip-top shape for the festival. "The training in Muaythai is very strenuous," said Villaflores.

Bustillo said that due to lack of funds, they only brought six fighters to the festival in Iloilo City. "We have more than 100 members in Dumaguete, who come from various public and private schools in the city and out of school youths as well. Due to insufficient funds, we only brought 6 players. Our local association shouldered the athletes' travel and accommodation expenses," he said.

But the young fighters' recent victory can be the turning point that the association needs, inspiring community and LGU support.

Aside from the mayor's promise of college education for the out-of-school winning fighters, Bustillo added that the provincial government through the provincial sports office headed by Buddy Ravello, have promised to pitch in their support. "The provincial sports office promised to reimburse our expenses. We hope it will push through."

The gold and silver medallists in the Phil. Olympic Festival are set to compete in the national championship sometime in November 2007, said Bustillo. (PIA) [top]

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