Pencak silat’s bet Padios wins PH’s first gold in Vietnam SEAG

Mary Francine Padios won the Philippines’ first gold medal in the 31st Southeast Asian Games by ruling on Wednesday pencak silat’s women’s seni (artistic or form) tunggal single at the Bac Tu Lien Gymnasium here.

Padios thus put the Philippines on the medals table Vietnam started to dominate on Wednesday, a day before this side of Asia celebrates its biennial multi-sport festival—proof that sports, and mankind for that matter, has started to champion its way over and above the pandemic that for more than two years stunted the entire world.

Padios, only 18, is now a guaranteed pride of her native Kalibo in Aklan. She improved on the silver she won in the Philippines 2019 edition, a feat she said inspired her to fulfill because of her dad Jerome’s misfortune just before Christmas.

“My dad has become my inspiration after he figured in a terrible car accident on her way home in Aklan just before Christmas,” said Padios, whose dad has fallen into a coma since. “He was so exhausted and drowsy from work he slept before the wheel and met the accident.”

“He’s been motivating me ever since,” said Padios, whose 9.960 score bested favorite Arum Sari of Indonesia who settled for silver with 9.945.

Padios’s gold medal kept the Philippine campaign rolling in these Games where she’s the reigning champion.

Helen Aclopen accounted for a silver medal in women’s – 48 kgs of kurash, which also produced bronze medals from Charlie Quelino and George Baclagan.

Vietnam is living up to expectations on its goal to snatch the overall title from the Philippines and has amassed a front-running haul of six gold, five silver and six bronze medals as of 3 p.m. (Hanoi time) on Wednesday.

Malaysia stayed in stride with its six-gold output but had less silver and bronze with one and four, respectively, followed by Indonesia (3-4-0 gold-silver-bronze), Singapore (1-3-3) and Thailand 1-2-3.

No other country in the 11-member SEA Games has won gold so far.

Handball was guaranteed a men’s team silver, already an improvement from the bronze in 2019.

As far as handball coach Joanna Franquelli is concerned, it’s a silver medal that glitters like gold.

“I am really proud of what the team has accomplished in two years that we were not able to train together because of the restrictions due to Covid-19, but we’re happy with the result,” Franquelli, a former national athlete in basketball and fencing, said a day after the national squad gave defending champion Vietnam fits before losing in a shootout 14-21, 18-12 (8-10).

The loss was the second in five games for the Filipinos in the double-round competition featuring two other countries – Singapore and Thailand.

“We exceeded expectations and no one expected us to get this silver. They were expecting Vietnam and Thailand to slug it out for the gold, but it turned out that we’re the one who fought for the gold and it was a close one,” Franquelli added.

On Wednesday at the Tuan Chau Resort Ha Long in Quang Ninh, the Philippines battled Singapore and Vietnam faced Thailand in non-bearing games on the last day of the event.

Vietnam was out to finish the tourney unscathed in six matches while Thailand, the silver medal winner in 2019, had the bronze wrapped up with a 2-3 card. Singapore went into the match against the Philippines with a 0-5 card.

Set to return home with silver medals are Daryoush Zandi, Dhane Varella, Josef Valdez, Rey Tabuzo, John Michael Pasco, Jamael Pangandaman, Manuel Lasangue, Andrew Michael Harris, Mark Dubouzet and Van Jacob Baccay.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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