Team Indonesia is training hard for the upcoming 2021 GAMMA Asian MMA Championship, and Garth Pangemanan (-70 Kg) is one of four amateur athletes from the country looking to take part in the event from 24-28 August in Cholpon-Ata, Krygyzstan.

In addition to being a MMA athlete, Pangemanan is also the General Secretary of the Sandro Academy in Tangerang City, where the training camp for Kyrgyzstan is being held.

Representing Indonesia at the Asian Championship is something Pangemanan says he is especially looking forward to.

“It is an honor for me to appear and represent the country where I was born and raised,” he says. “It is an obligation for me to try my best for the nation and state. Of course, I will recommend this to prospective young athletes because this competition is very good for improving the quality and experience of competing future generations of prospective athletes.”

Pangemanan was first introduced to martial arts by his late father, who taught him as a child, and then developed a love for MMA through video games.

“Long story short, it was with Sandro Academy that I developed and was given the opportunity to become a mixed martial arts athlete,” he says.

Pangemanan is likely to be joined at the Asian Championship by Azra Aulia Rahman (-65 Kg) in the MMA Strike category, and Muhibbullah Ibnu Ananda (-68 Kg) and Lourencius Christian Manurung (-52 Kg) in the MMA category. All four athletes are training at the Sandro Academy and being supported by GAMMA Indonesia.

GAMMA Indonesia and the Sandro Academy also teamed up recently to deliver an MMA Referee and Judge Training Programme that was attended by 38 people.

One thing is for sure: Without a governing body such as GAMMA Indonesia and GAMMA it will be very difficult for athletes to develop,”  Pangemanan says. “Organisations like GAMMA give athletes a clear direction towards becoming world-class athletes

“Personally, I have been greatly helped by the programme from GAMMA and I hope that the programme from GAMMA will continue to run both in Indonesia and throughout the world.”

Asked how he manages to juggle such a busy work schedule with the intense training required for the Asian Championship, Pangemanan says it has been a challenge to find the time to perform both roles at the same level, but he pushes himself to do what’s required.

When I think about quitting, I remind myself to stay motivated and make good use of the rest of my athlete’s productivity,” he says. “I’ll regret it if I don’t put it to good use, because youth will never be repeated.”

Pangemanan and his three compatriots, who are attempting to drum up the necessary funds to travel to Kyrgyzstan, are also proving to be quite the inspiration for other young MMA athletes at the Academy and throughout the country. 

His advice for up-and-coming MMA athletes facing obstacles, in particular that of COVID-19, is to develop a champion’s mentality.

“My advice to young talents is to keep going and forge yourself by training hard and smart.  These are difficult times for all of us and the whole world,” he says.  “But if all of you can get through it, a champion’s mentality will be formed which will greatly help your journey as an athlete in the future. Believe that this difficult time will surely pass.”

For more information on the 2021 GAMMA Asian MMA Championship, click here.