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Team Lakay stars in PH kickboxing pool for SEAG

Jenelyn Olsim, a SEA Games Muay Thai silver medalist in 2019, is part of the Philippine kickboxing pool for SEA Games 2022. ONE Championship (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--There is a huge chance that some of Team Lakay's prized mixed martial arts fighters will see action in the Southeast Asian Games for kickboxing.

Samahang Kickboxing ng Pilipinas secretary-general Wharton Chan revealed on Friday that five Lakay fighters currently signed with ONE Championship are being considered for the national squad that will fly to Hanoi for the SEA Games from May 12-23.

"We have choices to include them sa lineup. Some of our options are Lito Adiwang, Jenelyn Olsim, Honorio Banario, and Danny Kingad," Chan said via Sports on Air Weekly.

He also bared that former Brave Combat Federation fighter Jeremy Pacatiw, who is set for his ONE debut at ONE: Full Circle later Friday at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, is also in the national pool.

This means that Banario, the former ONE featherweight champion, and Kingad, a former flyweight title contender also at ONE, will bring their championship experience from the "Circle" to the squared circle of kickboxing if they make the final cut.

Adiwang is also expected to bring his newly-earned toughness from pursuing a professional MMA career back into the kickboxing ring.

The interesting case, however, is that of Olsim, a silver medalist for Muay Thai in the 2019 SEA Games in Olongapo who is currently ranked fifth in the ONE women's strawweight division.

If she makes the final kickboxing roster, then she might join her brother Jerry, who won a kickboxing gold in Pasay also three years ago.

With both sports sharing most of the rules, Chan believes Jenelyn Olsim's transition should be smooth if she makes the jump.

"Yun ang maganda sa combat sports. Ang Muay Thai Association of the Philippines is very cooperative with us, and they give us an opportunity and chance to train and spar with them. Weekly, magkasama kami ng Muay Thai. Nagtre-train kami together, so we exchange our opinions and training habits. And ang maganda kasi, iisa yung location ng pinagtre-trainingan namin, kaya lagi namin silang nakakasama," Chan added.

He clarified, however, that Olsim could only make the shift if she gets approval from MAP.

Chan, however, bared that if Olsim will also be chosen to the Muay Thai team as highly expected, then there is a chance that she might be playing both sports.

Host country Vietnam has yet to announce the final schedule for each of the 40 sports to be played in this year's SEA Games, although it is expected that Muay Thai and kickboxing will fall on different periods and will be in different arenas.

Kickboxing will be played at the Bac Ninh Gymnasium, while Muay Thai will be held at the Vinh Phuc Sporting Hall in Vinh Yen.

Both Bac Ninh and Vinh Yen are cities within the Hanoi Capital Region.

Meanwhile, Chan assured that Adiwang, Olsim, Banario, Pacatiw, and Kingad will prioritize their training for the national team should they get chosen despite their status as title contenders at one point in their MMA careers.

"Ang huli naming usapan is if they will participate in the Southeast Asian Games, they will beg off any offer ng ONE. Priority nila ang SEA Games kasi gusto rin nilang mag-represent ng country natin, which is a very big achievement for them to carry the flag of the Philippines," Chan further said.

According to him, the final roster of the Philippine kickboxing team will be revealed once the entry by name will be submitted this March.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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