Gina Iniong: I Hope To See More Women Compete In Mixed Martial Arts
Fresh off her winning return inside the ONE Circle last Friday night at ONE: Fire and Fury against Asha Roka, Team Lakay’s Gina Iniong is crediting her success on her team. Where she is their only female representative on the global stage. Speaking to ONE Championship, ‘The Conviction’ said that she hoped that her success will see more Filipina women compete in the sport.
“I don’t find this position difficult at all. It’s great to have an amazing team who has always supported me, though I hope that there will be more women athletes who will join mixed martial arts,” Iniong confessed.
“I am fortunate to be in this position and I am very proud that I started here, that I developed here, and this where I got a break. From the beginning, [my male teammates] have been nothing but a blessing.”
Training at Team Lakay means training with lots of men stronger than her. Something Iniong is thankful for.
“In training, sometimes I spar with men and I’m getting used to facing stronger athletes. Coach Mark [Sangiao] has always told me that it’s better to struggle in training than in the actual fight, so that’s why he asked me to start getting used to it.”
Although there are lots of aspiring female mixed martial artists in the Philippines, the 30-year old SEA Games Gold medalist believes that they need to have the proper guidance in their journey as professional competitors.
“For me, there are a lot of ladies who are into mixed martial arts but they haven’t found the right coach and the right gym to train them, and that’s why they struggle to push their way up,” Iniong stated.
Currently, the famous gym from Baguio City is molding female athletes in their stable to find the next Gina Iniong among them.
“Right now we’re preparing some athletes to follow my footsteps. It’s all about making sure that they’re well-equipped when they step into mixed martial arts. Others are still fairly young. They just have to pursue their dreams and do what they really want to do. In mixed martial arts, you’ll get rewarded with proper training, good-sized confidence in yourself, and of course, faith in God.”