AJ Villamor had an impressive international debut after winning a bronze medal in the 1st Shureido Cup Karate Championship at the Likas Sports Complex in Kota Kinabalu in Sabbah, Malaysia on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019.
The 11-year-old AJ, son of former world title contender and ALA Gym head coach Edito Villamor, fought in the Under-14 division Advanced Kata category against 15 other karatekas two to three years older than him.
“At first he wasn’t really supposed to be competing in the international stage because he doesn’t have that much training in advanced kata,” the older Villamor told SunStar Cebu. “But with the advice of Sensei Rhodee Saavedra, the president of AUK, he just needed a little finetuning to be able to compete in the advanced kata. So my wife and I decided to send him for the exposure. He needed the exposure in the sport that he loves--karate.”
Edito was surprised that his son won a medal despite his inexperience and him competing in a more advanced category.
“At the age of 11, we didn’t expect a medal from him because it’s his first time competing internationally. He hasn’t been training consistently in the past two years. He was also competing against more experienced opponents that are black belters, unlike him, who is a blue belt,” he said.
AJ’s next assignment will be the 7th Karatedo Goju-Kai Asific Championships on Sept. 26 to Oct. 1, 2019 at the Hoops Dome in Lapu-Lapu City. (EKA)