By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
JIU-JITSU in the country had a solid finish in international competitions in 2019, earning 11 medals in the 30th Southeast Asian Games, including five gold ones. It is something that serves as further motivation and a good jump-off point for more achievements moving forward. This was according to bemedalled athlete Meggie Ochoa.
One of the athletes who produced gold for the country in the sport at the regional sporting meet which the Philippines hosted in December, the good showing of the national team bodes well, Ms. Ochoa said, as they prepare for competitions ahead.
“It was very overwhelming and very exciting for us to have that kind of showing in the SEA Games. We did get the result that we wanted with the five gold medals. It’s good to celebrate the wins but I hope this provides a push as well moving forward,” said Ms. Ochoa, named one of the 50 greatest Filipino athletes of all-time in the 2020 edition of the Philippines Yearbook, in an interview.
“Now we saw the potential there is in the sport, let’s get more work done because there is still much to do. But surely it is exciting to see the growth of the sport here,” she added.
Ms. Ochoa, who also won gold at the Asian Jiu-Jitsu Championship in Mongolia last year, said for the current year they are using it as preparation ground for the many competitions lined up for the next three years.
“This year is more like a preparation year. The entire sporting world will be focused on the Olympics and jiu-jitsu unfortunately is not yet part of the Games. But our regular competitions will be happening, with the World Championships, Asian Championships and Asian Beach Games,” she said.
“In 2021, the World Games and World Combat Games will take place and to be able to qualify for those competitions, you have to be active this year. Then there is the Asian Games in 2022,” Ms. Ochoa added.
Apart from doing jiu-jitsu, Ms. Ochoa, 29, is a strong advocate of protection of children against sexual violence. She launched the Fight to Protect movement back in 2018 to combat abuses through sports.
In Fight to Protect they use jiu-jitsu and muay thai as a platform to spread awareness on the issue.