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Japan training beckons Ajido


Opportunities are opening up for Palarong Pambansa gold medalist and talented junior swimmer Jamesray Mishael Ajido, who is being lined up for further intensive training in Japan.

A high school varsity mainstay at La Salle Green Hills under coach and former national swimmer Evan Grabador, the 14-year-old Ajido has been identified by no less than Japanese gymnastics coach Munehiro Kugimiya, who sees his huge potential in becoming a future elite athlete.

“Coach Mune (Kugimiya) thoroughly went through Ajido’s track record and background and sees him becoming a world-class athlete given the proper coaching and training,” Jun Esturco, the head of KG (Key to Gold) Management, said.

Esturco revealed that Kugimiya is personally handling the preparations so that Ajido can train for at least two weeks in Tokyo, Japan at the world-class swimming facilities of Juntendo University.

Kugimiya, who helped transform Carlos Yulo into a two-time world champion, aims to scout promising young athletes locally and provide them with the means and opportunity to train and compete overseas with the help of KG Management Inc., he said.

“Carlos Yulo is the first elite athlete that KG Management is now handling. We hope to discover many more like him in other sports,” Esturco said.

“We’re choosing not only those with exceptional athletic skills but who are also teachable and have solid character.”

“Yulo and Ajido are just among the first batch of talented local athletes we aim to support for the long haul,” added Esturco of the swimmer, who was first discovered by coach Ramil Ilustre of the Antipolo Gems Sea Scorpions.

“In my seven years in PSI, James is the only swimmer I’ve seen with that kind of talent,” noted Philippine Swimming Inc. president Lani Velasco of the outstanding junior tanker.

In the last Palarong Pambansa held in July, Ajido clocked 56.78 seconds in ruling the men’s 100-meter butterfly event in secondary division, breaking the national junior record of Miguel Barreto of 57.40 in the 2019 edition of the meet held in Davao City.

He brought home three silver medals in 100-meter backstroke and butterfly and 50-meter butterfly events, respectively, from the Southeast Asian Age Group Swimming Championships held in Jakarta, Indonesia last month.


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