Sun.Star Cebu

Filipino kickboxers look to haul six gold medals in Hanoi SEA Games


SIX Filipino kickboxers will be looking to give the Philippine­s a gold rush as they vie for gold medals in the finals of the 31st Southeast Asian Games kickboxing tourney on May 13 at the Bac Ninh Gymnasium in Hanoi.

Leading the charge are Jean Claude Saclag and Gina Iniong Araos.

Saclag, the reigning champion in the men’s low kick 63.5 KG class, takes on Chaleamlap Santidongs­akun of Thailand while Araos, also the defending champion, clashes with yet another Thai fighter, Waraporn Jaiteang, in the women’s low kick minus 60 KG class.

Also eying gold are Renalyn Dacquel who is up against hometown bet Thi Hang Nga Nguyen in the women’s minus 48 KG full contact category; Gretel De Paz who will battle Indonesian Pieter Ariesta in the women’s full contact minus 56 KG division; Zeph Ngaya who takes on Vietnamese Huynh Thi Kim Vang in the women’s minus 65 KG full contact finale; and Claudine Veloso who clashes with Amanda Loupatty of Indonesia in the women’s minus 52 KG low kick division.

Samahang Kickboxing ng Pilipinas secretary general Wharton Chan believes the country can achieve more than what they did during the 2019 SEA Games where they hauled in three gold medals, two silvers and a bronze.

“Our athletes have done a tremendous performanc­e and exceptiona­l job despite fighting in a hostile terrain after beating several Vietnamese athletes,” said Chan.

“I predict we can be at 80 percent or 5-of-6 or maybe 4-of-6 in winning golds in tomorrow’s finals. We can surpass the three golds last time,” he added.

Whatever happens in the finals, the Philippine­s is assured of bringing home eight medals, counting the bronze medals won by Honorio Banario and Emmanuel Cantores, who suffered 0-3 defeats in the semis.

Banario lost to Cambodia’s Lvay Chhoeung in the men’s semifinals of the minus 71 KG low kick event while Cantores bowed to Nguyen Quang Huy of host Vietnam in the men’s semifinals of the minus 60 KG low kick event.

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