Comfortable lead for Team Philippines
Golds came in drips Monday for Team Philippines after a swashbuckling 22-medal haul in Day One of the 30th Southeast Asian Games but the impact of its 16-gold effort proved as significant as it featured two precious ones clutched from the very sport dearest to the Filipinos.
Afril Bernardino, Janine Pontejos, Clare Castro and Jack Animam hung tough in the clutch to get back at the Thais, 17-13, and snare the women’s 3x3 gold while CJ Perez, Chris Newsome, Mo Tautaa and Jason Perkins dominated the Indonesians, 21-9, to complete their unbeaten run in the inaugural staging of the event to the delight of the big crowd at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Two more cage golds are coming up, in the 5x5, which starts tomorrow with the all-pro squad facing Singapore at 8 p.m. at the MOA Arena.
But already here in the Games’ midst is Typhoon Kammuri (Tisoy), which has forced organizers to cancel a number of water sports with more games still to be disrupted in a rainy Day 3 of the 12-day competition featuring the region’s best and the brightest.
They include Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz, who finally ended a long quest for a SEAG weightlifting gold after topping the 55kg division, besting Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Thuy and Klarisa Juliana of Indonesia, who took the silver and bronze medals, respectively.
“I was so nervous, pressured. But I just told myself that I’m doing this for the team, for the country and for God,” said Diaz, who could only dish out a pair of silvers (2011 and 2013) and a bronze (2007) in her previous SEAG campaigns. She lifted a combined 211kg in snatch (91) and the clean-and-jerk (120) at the packed Ninoy Aquino Stadium.
“I thank you for coming over and supporting me,” said the Zamboanga City ace in acknowledging the cheers of the crowd the way they backed Carlos Yulo’s gold medal romp in Monday’s artistic gymnastics all-around event.
Counting its six silvers and one bronze, the Philippines hiked its medal tally to 38-20-13 (gold-silver-bronze) as of 7:30 p.m. yesterday, keeping its 12-gold lead over Vietnam (15-2016) with Malaysia moving from fourth to third with 10-2-7 and Indonesia improving from fifth to fourth with 6-11-12.
Thailand, which ruled the last two SEAG editions in overpower fashions, slipped from third to fifth with 6-9-16 followed by Singapore (3-7-7), Cambodia (1-3-13), Brunei (1-3-3), Myanmar (0-5-14) and Laos (0-0-2) and Timor Leste still without a medal of any color.
Wilbert Aunzo plants a kiss on partner Pearl Marie Caneda at the podium after the Cebuano athletes produced three gold medals for the Philippines in dancesport event of the 30th SEA Games the other day. Aunzo and Caneda ruled all Latin dances in chachacha, samba and rhumba en route to a golden treble.
Hidilyn Diaz copped her first ever gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games after dominating the women’s 55kg weightlifting contest on Monday. PHILIPPINE STAR PHOTO