Retirement plans up for Rivera

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014


WORLD Wushu gold medalist Benjie Rivera may have played his last competition last year as he thinks of finally hanging up his gloves for good and think of another direction in the sport that catapulted him as one the country’s best athletes.

Rivera, who won the gold medal in the 52kg division in the 12th World Wushu Championships in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is thinking of retirement this year but hopes to become coach to younger generation players.

“I just played my last game for the country,” Rivera told Sun.Star Baguio referring to the world championships adding he is pondering on retiring as a national player for the country.

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Rivera’s gold medal performance was the lone gold mint during the world meet for the country.

“If things would push through and depende dun sa magiging usapan sa national,” added Rivera during the Kafagway Sports Achievers awards program during the weekend.

Rivera, a native of Kibungan in Benguet, went up in weight (56kg) and only settled for a pair of bronze in two previous campaigns, including the 2011 edition of the meet.

He became the third Filipino to win two gold medals in the world meet after taolu artist Samson Co, vice president of the Wushu Federation of the Philippines in 1991 and 93, and sanda fighter Rene Catalan in 2003 and 05.

Significantly, the gold medal was the 100th overall which the Philippine wushu team won in major international tournaments.

With retirement in mind, Rivera said he’s also considering a possible career in mix martial arts if his coaching stint would not be approved and join his former Wushu standouts Eduard Folayang and coach Mark Sangiao in Team Lakay.

“I’m not yet closing my door on MMA but my main priority right now is I hope I can be part of the coaching staff for the national team,” Rivera continued.

Rivera was recently awarded as ‘Athlete of the Decade’ for his continued victory in international wushu competitions by the National Correspondents Club of Baguio in the Kafagway Sports awards.

He will also be among the ist of 123 personalities and entities that will be cited by Philippine Sportswriters Association in formal rites on Jan. 25 at the Centennial Hall of the Manila Hotel.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 23, 2014.

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