6th AIMAG set for November 2023

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 21 2021 03:24 PM

Team Philippines at the 2017 AIMAG in Ashgabat. File photo.
Team Philippines at the 2017 AIMAG in Ashgabat. File photo.

MANILA, Philippines -- The sixth edition of the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) will be held on November 17-26, 2023 in Thailand, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) announced.

This was confirmed by Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Rep. Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino, who had previously urged the House of Representatives and Senate to include the AIMAG as one of the budget priorities for 2022.

The AIMAG was originally scheduled for March 10-19, 2022, but Thailand's government as well as its national Olympic committee (NOC) sought its postponement over concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The OCA fully understands and respects the decision of the NOC of Thailand, Thailand AIMAG Organizing Committee and the Royal Thai government to postpone (the Games) due to the COVID-19 global pandemic," OCA acting president Raja RandhirSingh said in his letter to Thai NOC president Gen. Prawit Wongsuwon.

The AIMAG, staged every four years, will be hosted next year by Bangkok and Chonburi.

Tolentino has previously announced that the Philippines will send 160 athletes to the AIMAG, who will compete in 21 of the 31 sports in the program.

"The postponement would allow our athletes to be better prepared for the AIMAG, which ranks as one of the most important multi-sport competitions in the continent," Tolentino said

In the 2017 edition of the AIMAG, Filipino athletes won two gold medals courtesy of Margarita Ochoa (women Ne-waza – 45 kgs) and Annie Ramirez (women Ne-waza - 55 kgs) in jiu-jitsu. They also brought home 14 silvers and 14 bronzes.

Olympic champion Hidilyn Diaz was part of the delegation to Ashgabat in 2017, and bagged a silver medal in weightlifting. She went on to win gold in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta before winning the Philippines' first-ever Olympic gold medal in Tokyo.

However, Diaz will not compete in the AIMAG next year as weightlifting is not part of the competition program. Thailand is indefinitely suspended by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) for multiple doping violations and thus cannot organize or take part in weightlifting events.