EXPERIENCE will be the biggest advantage of Team Philippines in the kickboxing competition of the Southeast Asian Games which kicks of November 30 with two veterans from Team Lakay hoping to deliver for the country in the biennial meet.
Jean Claude Saclag, a former world wushu sanda champion and Jerry Olsim, a mixed martial arts practitioner will banner the country’s kick boxing team as they both hope for a podium finish in the sports event hosted by the country.
Saclag, who recently shifted to kickboxing this year added he has to forego his professional mixed martial arts dreams after they were persuaded to try - out for the kickboxing team.
“Nagkataon na may try – out for SEA Games, salamat at naselect,” Saclag told Sun.Star Baguio adding he was supposed to see action in an MMA promotion this November.
Saclag added he is all fired up for another stint for the country despite the change in sport.
“Nahirapan nung una kaya pinag – aralan ko yung rules ng kick boxing. Well prepared naman tayo at tuloy – tuloy yung training,” Saclag added.
Olsim meanwhile said the team is focused finishing on top of the podium come SEA Games as they expect tough challenge from other SEA countries, particularly Thailand and Vietnam.
“Mabigat na kalaban ang Thailand at Vietnam dahil may technique din sila pero pipilitin nating makuha yung ginto para matuwa yung ating mga kababayan,” the former member of the country’s Muay Thai, who like Saclag, is also shifting to another sport for the SEA Games.
Other Cordillera fighters seeing action in the sport that will make its debut in the biennial meet are fellow Team Lakay and MMA veteran Gina Iniong, world medalist Jomar Xanda Boy Balangui of the University of Baguio, rising female fighter Renz Dacquel and hard-hitting Karol Estepa Maguide, both of Highland Boxing Gym.
The kickboxers have undergone exposure on their foreign training in Taiwan and Cambodia with the aim of winning it all and with the urging of SKBP president, Senator Francis Tolentino and Secretary-General Wharton Chan.
The team also has the backing of SEA Games Competition Manager for Kickboxing Beh Barothy Hung, and with the help of the coaches Randy Caluag, taekwondo Olympian Donnie Geisler, boxing coach Abellon Cabiara Mondol, and fight and striking coach Mark Sangiao, founder of Team Lakay and former national coach of Philippine wushu team.