PH athletes pluck 22 golds, dominate in SEAG Day 1

By Ricky Manliguis

MANILA— The Philippines rolled right from the get-go, nabbing 22 gold medals with another win in a demonstration sport in the first day of official competitions of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games Sunday.

Anchored by another medal haul from dancesports while breakthrough wins in arnis, sepak takraw, kurash and gymnastics, the hosts sits atop the medal tally along with 12 silvers and nine bronze medals.

In just two days, the hosts already surpassed the 24-gold output it produced during the 2017 edition of the biennial meet help in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

Vietnam is a far second place with 10 golds, 14 silvers, and nine bronzes, while Thailand climbed to third with a 5-4-10 medal count.

Malaysia (4-4-2), Singapore (3-3-5), and Indonesia (1-4-5) have already got a least a gold. Cambodia, Myanmar, and Brunei have yet to strike gold.

Dancers exits on a high

Dancesport added five more gold medals in the Latin American category at the Royce Hotel in Clark in Pampanga, ending their campaign with 10 golds and three silver medals.

The pair of Wilbert Aunzo and Pearl Marie Caneda plucked in three gold medals in Cha cha cha, Salsa and, Rumba, even as Michael Angelo Marquez and Stephanie Sabalo  struck wins in Paso Doble and the Open category.

Two additional silvers were provided by Marquez and Sabalo (Latin Jive), and Debbie Mahinay in the Breakdance B-Girls category.

Yulo shines for all-around gold

Over at the Rizal Memorial Sports Center, Carlos Yulo thrilled the crowd as he snatched the gold in the men’s individual artistic all-around category.

The Tokyo Olympics-bound Yulo dominated in the horizontal bar and his pet event floor exercise to tally 84.900 points, beating Vietnamese bets  Dinh Phuong Thanh (82.350) and Le Thanh Tung (81.700) who got silver and bronze, respectively.

Arnsiadors sweep

In arnis, the Philippines won all of its four finals assignments to record a sweep in the men’s live stick event at the Angeles University Foundation Gym in Angeles City.

Dexler Bolambao opened the gold-medal rush with a unanimous decision win over Myanmar’s Paing Soe in the bantamweight division. Niño Mark Talledo followed suit in the featherweight class, beating Van Kien Vu of Vietnam also via UD.

Villardo Canumay bucked his height advantage to pull off a majority decision success over Mengly Yong of Cambodia in the lightweight class. Mark Bañares then subdued Vietnam’s Thai Viet Phu to complete the PH sweep.

The women’s team also provided medals, led by Jezebelle Morcillo’s gold-medal performance over Thi Huong Nguyen of Vietnam in the bantamweight division.

Jude Oliver Marie Rodriguez then settled for silver in the featherweight division, falling to another Vietnamese bet Thi Thanh Binh Vu via unanimous decision. Eza Rai Yalong and Erlin Mae Busacay copped bronze medals in the lightweight and welterweight divisions.

Gold in other fronts

The country also produced a golden double in sepak takraw courtesy of the men’s and women’s hoop event. The women’s team scored 670 points, just 10 points ahead of Indonesia, for the gold. The men’s team then completed the twinkill beating Cambodia and Laos in the final.

Estie Gay Liwanen procuded the first gold medal at the Games in kurash, winning the women’s 63kg event. Kurash is a folk wrestling style originating in Central Asia.

Jan Emmanuel Garcia nabbed the individual online chess gold at the Traveler's Hotel Rialto Function Room in Subic. However, the online chess event is a demonstration sport, and Garcia's gold will not count to the official tally, keeping the Philippines' official gold count at 22.

More medals snatched

Water Polo got back into the podium after an eight-year absence after the men’s team finished with a silver after its 14-11 win over Malaysia in its final preminary match. The women’s side, meanwhile, settled for bronze in the three-team tournament.

Over in mountain bike cycling in Laurel, Batangas, Niño Surban and EJ Flores finished second and thirs, respectively, in the men’s croos country event.

Alisson Perticheto had a strong start but settled for a silver medal in ladies' figure skating free skate at the SM Megamall Skating Rink. The 2017 bronze medalist had a total score of 132.76 points, 20 points behind eventual winner Chloe Ing of Singapore.

John Fabliar Ceniza wins silver in 55kg event in weightlifting after a total lift of 252kg (112kg snatch, 140kg clean & jerk). Earlier in the day, Mary Flor Diaz wins bronze medal in the 45kg final with a lift of 159 kg. 

SEAG action resumes on Monday with a total of 18 golds to be contested. 

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