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Bicolana Asian Games gold medalist lauds gov’t support to elite athletes

Naga City (PIA) – Asian Games gold medalist in jiu jitsu Annie Ramirez, who hails from the town of Pamplona in Camarines Sur, has expressed her gratitude to the government for the windfall of incentives she received for excelling in the sport she came to love after switching from swimming and judo.

Nagulat din ako na naging maganda na ang sports programs ng government. Naglaan na sila ng Sports Academy. Malaking bagay yun para sa mga aspiring athletes na mabigyan sila ng suporta lalo na financially. (I am amazed that the sports programs of the government have improved. They have provided a sports academy. It really matters for aspiring athletes to be given support particularly in finances),” she said.

Ramirez was given a local hero’s welcome in October after winning the country’s third gold in the recent Asian Games in China.

She scored a 2-0 victory over Kazakhstan’s Galina Duvanova in the final to complete her unbeaten run after winning her first three bouts.

Camarines Sur Governor Luigi Villafuerte and 2nd District Representative LRay Villafuerte welcomed and awarded incentives and recognition to Asian Games Gold Medalist Annie Ramirez in October for the athlete's homecoming. Photo from the Province of Cam Sur official Facebook Page
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. congratulates Annie Ramirez on X, after grabbing the third gold at the 19th Asian Games

A three-time champion in the Southeast Asian Games, Ramirez defeated Vietnam’s Le Thi Thuong, Singapore’s Fiona Toh, and UAE’s Shamsa Alameri to advance to the final where she eventually emerged with the gold medal.

For her achievement, Ramirez was given an incentive of P300,000 and recognition from the Provincial Government of Camarines Sur. She also stands to receive P2 million under the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act.

Ramirez said young athletes need all the help they can get as they face countless challenges even before they actually compete like sustaining their training, finding the right coach and fulfilling their nutritional needs.

Annie Ramirez, together with Cam Sur Governor Luigi VIllafuerte, his father Congressman LRay Villafuerte, and Bicolano young athletes are all smiles during Ramirez' homecoming celebration in October. Photo courtesy by Provincial Governnment of Cam Sur official Facebook page
(L-R) Kazakhastan's Galina Duvanova, Philippines' Annie Ramires (Gold), UAE's Shamsa Alameri and Thailan's Orapa Senatham posed after the awarding ceremony at the 19th Asian Games for 57-kg Jiu-jitsu events, October 7, 2023 at Xiaoshan Linpu Gymnasium, Hangzhou, China. Photo file from Ramirez

Ramirez started her foray into sports after her father taught her how to swim. At age 5, she started competing at the Naga City Civic Center. She later excelled in her age group and qualified to compete in the regional level when she was in Grades 5 and 6 at Triangulo Elementary School and Naga City Central School, respectively.

Ramirez moved to Muntinlupa City in her junior high school years, where she discovered  judo with the help of Olympian John Baylon, who later became her coach.

In college, she made it to the judo varsity team of the University of Santo Tomas and became two-time Most Valuable Player in the Universities Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) judo competition.

In 2012, she switched to Brazilian jiu-jitsu and as the cliche goes, the rest is history..

Ramirez will soon start preparing for the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Thailand set in February. (PIA5/Camarines Sur)

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Keren Anne Bernadas


Region 5

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