Taekwondo sparks late gold rush for Team Philippines; Bautista collects boxing gold – rezal404
One fought against his idol. The other, for probably the last time.
In high drama on the taekwondo floor in the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, Kurt Barbosa and Samuel Morrison spearheaded a four-gold haul by the national jins here in Cambodia, boosting a Philippine campaign that was almost headed for another lean output on Saturday .
Barbosa, a Tokyo Olympian, defeated his long-time idol, Ramnarong Sawekwiharee of Thailand, in the finals of the men’s 54kg category for the taekwondo team’s first gold on Saturday.
“I always looked up to him (Sawekwiharee) ever since I began playing this sport,” Barbosa, who has dominated the finweight division since the 2019 SEA Games in Manila. “To be honest, he’s my inspiration to become better each time I fight.”
Arven Alcantara struck gold immediately after a victory over another Thai in Chaichon Cho in the 68kg class.
Morrison then stepped on the floor, won his final match and announced that he would no longer compete in the regional meet.
Late fourth gold
“This is my last SEA Games. I already have a family and I intend to just focus on my business,” said Morrison, who will put up a taekwondo gym as soon as he retires after the Asian Games in September.
Morrison subdued Indonesia’s Nicholas Armanto in the men’s 87kg finals at the Chroy Changvar Convention Hall, capping a rewarding stint in these Games where the 33-year-old won four gold medals in a storied career.
Even later in the night, the national taekwondo team added a fourth gold on Saturday as Kirstie Elaine Alora trounced Thi Huong Nguyen in their women’s -73kg title duel.
And Alora, who has competed in the regional meet since her triumphant debut in 2005, plans to stay on for as long as she can.
“As long as my body allows me, I will continue to compete for our country,” said the 33-year-old Alora.
Boxing came through with a gold courtesy of Ian Clark Bautista.
Bautista fought a tactical battle against Asri Udin of Indonesia and unanimously prevailed to clinch the men’s featherweight title.The rest of the boxers who fought their final matches Saturday settled for silver.
Rogen Ladon lost the title he won for two straight editions starting in 2019 after bowing to Thailand’s Thanarat Saengphet in their flyweight showdown.
Vietnam’s Thi Linh Ha, meanwhile, used her length to the hilt and prevailed over Riza Pasuit in their women’s welterweight title clash.
Irish Magno lost her attempt to get payback against Jutamas Jitpong of Thailand and settled for the silver in their 54-kg final.
Jitpong also claimed Magno’s scalp during the 2021 SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Five more Filipino boxers will hunt for gold on Sunday.
The national weightlifting squad delivered silvers courtesy of some of its young talents.
Angeline Colonia, 16, bagged a silver medal in the women’s 45kg after a total lift of 148kg—68kg in the snatch and 80kg in the clean and jerk.
Lovely Inan, an 18-year-old national champion from Angono, Rizal, compiled a total lift of 178 kilograms built on her efforts in snatch (78kg) and the clean and jerk (100kg) to place second behind Thailand’s Sanikun Tanasan in the 49kg category. John Fabuar Ceniza also settled for silver in the men’s 61kg class.
Later Saturday, Francis Casey Alcantara and Ruben Gonzales downed Indonesia’s Nathan Barki and Christopher Rungkat in a come-from-behind 2-6, 7-5, 10-5 win for the tennis doubles gold.
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