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  • Writer's pictureChristian Malnawa

Young Kalinga martial artist seeks financial help as he joins International Muay Thai Competition

Updated: Sep 15, 2023

Salko Velic, an exceptional 13-year-old member of the Kalinga MMA community, stands on the height of a life-changing opportunity, having secured a spot at the upcoming International Federation of Muay Thai Association (IFMA) World Youth Championship 2023.

However, as he is set to embark on said competition, he also faces financial constraints, as he needs almost P200,000 to cover his expenses during the competition, which runs from September 29 to October 08 in Turkey. These include the expenses associated with travel, including airfare and an 11-day hotel stay.

For this reason, his long-time mentor and trainer, Erwin Tagure, now appeals to potential sponsors to support Salko's journey to Turkey, emphasizing that the athlete carries the Kalinga banner with honor and integrity into every fight, leaving a mark on the province and its promising martial arts legacy.

"Historical daytoy as far as I know. Ni Salko ti ammok nga first teenager organic yKalinga (nga lumaban dita)," Tagure relayed in an interview with Station 1 Radio, adding that there might be yKalinga fighters in this competition but mostly are either Manila or Baguio-based.

Tagure and his group might have generously contributed their own funds and received support from compassionate individuals, sports enthusiasts, and sponsors to enable athletes to participate in tournaments and gain invaluable experience in the ring, but the available financial resources fell short of covering Salko's expenses.

They welcome any contribution, regardless of size, to help the talented young athlete achieve his dreams and reach his full potential.

"Please join us in empowering our young yKalinga—an Igorot champion on his path to international recognition. This is also a beginning to empower even young yKalingas to bring the banner to the world," Tagure said.

For donations, the public may send them through GCASH number, 09691837810 .

Tagure pledges that all donations will be meticulously accounted for and made publicly available to maintain complete transparency and trust within the community.

From a gadget addict to becoming a national martial artist

Tagure fondly remembers the young fighter's transformation from a skinny, gadget-addicted boy to a national champion in just a year.

"Actually, fighter scholar ko ni Salko since humble beginnings ko ditoy. Addict ti gadget ken skinny boy ngem nakitak ti potential na ta haan pulos nag-give-up. Agsubli latta ditoy gym uray nu marigatan," he relayed, emphasizing the importance of humility and remaining committed to the principles of a true martial artist throughout Salko's metamorphosis.

Among his record of accomplishments are gold medals earned in the 2022 Muay Thai Regional Championships-Luzon Leg, Baguio Wushu Day, the 2022 Philippine Muaythai Youth Games, the Liblida Ilocos Muaythai Championship, and the 2023 WCCS Kickboxing.

He also clinched a silver medal in the 2023 Muay Thai Regional Championships—Luzon Leg.

How did he qualify for the competition?

His consistent winning feat on these events, along with his outstanding performance during the recently-concluded Sablan Fruit Festival Muay Thai Bout qualified the young man for said event, according to Tagure.

Having seen the potential of the kid, Bryan Olod, one of the tournament managers of the festival’s Muay Thai fight endorsed Salko at the IFMA World Youth Championship, earning a nod from the Muay Thai Association of the Philippines.

The 2023 IFMA Youth World Championships

This year’s World Championships will include both the Combat and Cultural Disciplines of Wai Kru and Mai Muay, according to the association’s website.

The age divisions for said event include all youth divisions - 10 until 17 years and for the cultural disciplines, all youth divisions - 8 until 17 years.



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