By Nick Giongco
CLARKFIELD, Pampanga—The Philippines made a major push during the second half of Thursday with combat sports judo and sambo and skating bulking up the hosts’ medal tally in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
The Fil-Jap tandem of Shugen Nakano and Kiyomi Watanabe and sambists Mark Striegl and Chino Sy and skateboarders Marge Didal and Daniel Ledermann accounted for six of nine gold medals won on a day that started rather slow.
In the AM session, only cyclist Jermyn Prado struck and she did it in the individual time trial.
But just before sundown, it began to rain medals, gold, specifically, when fencer Jylyn Nicanor and the pair of Princess Arbilon and Samuel German in modern pentathlon joined the fray.
As of 10 pm, the Philippines was lording over the rest the pack with a haul of 65-45-34, still way ahead of Vietnam, which is slowly gaining a foothold with 31-35-41. At third is Indonesia with a 27-36-39 collection while rounding off the top five are Singapore and Malaysia.
Nakano turned back B. Prasetui of Indonesia for the 66 kg gold while Watanabe downed Malaysian Nik Norbaizura in the 63 kg.
Watanabe is ranked within the world’s top 25 and her latest conquest was her third straight gold in the regional games.
In sambo, a Russian martial practiced by the military to improve hand-to-hand combat skills, Striegl proved too much for Singapoingh, 8-0, in their 74 kg final bout.
In another finals that featured a Filipino, Sy, a former UAAP juniors judo standout, took care of another Singaporean, Gary Chow Weng Luen, 4-1.
Prado’s morning success came in the women’s individual time trial in Tagaytay where she ruled the 23.1-kilometer event in 44 minutes and 33.742 seconds. It was cycling’s third gold medal following the twin triumph of John Farr and Lea Belgira in mountainbike downhill a few days ago in Laurel, Batangas. Pardo beat Singaporean Yiwei Luo, who clocked 44:48.518 for second and Thai Phetdarin Somrat, who did 44:58.518 for third.
The Philippines started strong in the biennial sportsfest as dancesport and arnis beefed up its early harvest with a combined 24 after just two days of action.
But the tide will start favoring the other nations as medal-rich athletics and swimming start giving away medals.
Swimming, which got going on Wednesday, dangles 40 while athletics is good for 45.
Athletics, meanwhile, will kick off Friday with gold medals at stake in men and women’s marathon.
Defending champion Mary Joy Tabal, who clocked two hours 48 minutes and 26 seconds in Kuala Lumpur, is back to defend her crown after spending three months training in Yokohama.
Tabal’s best time is 2:43.31 and is uncertain if she can match it given that the venue will be the roads of the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac.
Jerald Zabala will be the country’s entry in the men’s division.
Following James Deiparine’s breakthrough victory in the 50-meter breaststroke on Wednesday night at the Aquatics Center, another batch of swimmers took a crack at the gold Thursday but nobody duplicated Deiparine after Jasmine Alkhaldi and Chloe Isleta, Luke Gebby, Thomas Peregrina and Alberto Batungbacal had done.
Tags: #SEAGames2019, 30TH SEA GAMES, 30th Southeast Asian Games, Chino Sy, Daniel Ledermann, Jermyn Prado, Jylyn Nicanor, Kiyomi Watanabe, Marge Didal, Margielyn Didal, Mark Striegl, Princess Arbilon, Samuel German, SEA Games, Shugen Nakano, Southeast Asian Games