PH bags 2 golds in SEA Games

PH bags 2 golds in SEA Games

(UPDATE) THE Philippines bagged two gold medals on Thursday in events that were already under way a day before the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, officially open.

Jiu-jitsu athlete Kaila Napolis had the distinction of being the Philippines’ first gold medallist in this year’s Games.

The 25-year-old Napolis dominated Jessa Khan of host Cambodia 2-0 in the women’s 49kg final held at the Chroy Changvar Convention Center.

It was sweet revenge for Napolis who lost to Khan in the 2019 World Martial Arts Mastership Games in Chungju, South Korea.

Napolis started her quest for the gold with a triangle armbar submission victory against Singaporean May Yong in the first round.

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She scored a 3-0 win over Thai Nuchanat Singchalad in the second round before scoring a kimura submission victory against Vietnamese Thi Huyen in the third round.

Huyen suffered an elbow injury after refusing to immediately tap out amid the Filipino’s intense submission attack. Huyen eventually tapped out at the 2:31 mark.

In the final, Napolis found herself in a losing position as Khan pinned her down for the most of the 5-minute bout.

But the Filipina recovered in time to pull off the win.

“I’m about to lose since it was 0-0 [and she had me pinned down] so I just tried my best to gain the upper hand in points,” said the teary Napolis in Filipino.

“It felt good to get back at her in her home country because last time I lost to her and I told myself that I’m going to get back at her and this was the chance.” Napolis said.

An hour later, Angel Gwen Derla ruled the women’s kun bokator bamboo shield form.

The 19-year-old Derla racked up 8.5 points to top the event.

Cambodian Chanchhorvy Puth finished second with 8.47 points and Indonesian Delsya Anggrani took the bronze with 8.42 points.

Brothers Harvey and Karl Navarro took the bronze medal in the men’s jiu-jitsu duo, and Dianne Bargo and Isabela Montaña also won a bronze in the women’s division.

The Games formally opens today, May 5, with the parade of nations.

Volleyball superstar Alyssa Valdez will be the flag bearer for the 50-strong, all-women delegation that will represent the country in the parade.

The only two men in the delegation are Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino and chief of mission Chito Loyzaga.

The Filipinos will be wearing the Francis Libiran-designed Barong Tagalog named Araw.

The Philippines is fielding 860 athletes and 347 sports officials in the Phnom Penh Games where 11 nations are competing.

Participating in 608 events across 38 sports, the Philippine contingent hopes to improve on its fourth place finish last year in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Filipino athletes have been competing in Cambodia as early as last week, with the Philippine cricket women’s T10 team advancing in the gold medal match.

The Blue Caps defeated host Cambodia 45-44 on April 29 at the AZ Group Cricket Oval. That win catapulted them to the final match and is assured of at least the silver medal.

The Philippines will face the winner of the other group which has Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore in the final. The final round is scheduled on May 16 still at the AZ Group Ticket Oval, based on the official SEA Games website.

Women Grandmaster Janelle Mae Frayna and Women International Master Shania Mendoza took the silver in the ouk chaktrong (Cambodian chess) women’ doubles 60-minute event at the Royal University of Phnom Penh.

Frayna and Mendoza had a 4-1 win-loss record with 3.5 points in the preliminaries to finish second behind Vietnam. Also assured of podium finishes are Jaymark Rodelas, Poppy Pascua, Precious Cabuya, and Kaizen de la Serna who advanced to the gold medal match in their respective divisions in the Obstacle Course Race.

Rodelas topped the individual men’s 100-meter category and clocked a personal record of 25.09 seconds.

Pascua finished second to his compatriot with 26.19 seconds to also enter the final round.

Cabuya topped the women’s side with a time of 33.128 seconds, and de la Serna finished second by posting a new personal record of 34.86 seconds.

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