Asiad Post Mortem
By Eddie Alinea
02 Sep 2018
L-R: Hidilyn Diaz, Yuka Saso and Margie Didal.
The Philippines lowered the curtains in its celebration of its 67th anniversary participation in the Asian Games on a modest four-gold medal harvest, three brighter than a solitary performance the last time around four years ago.
The 18th Asiad Philippine pair of silver medal winning in Indonesia was one shy of the three the Filipino athletes brought home from Incheon, South Korea, but the 17 bronze mint they collected from the Jakarta and Palembang sports arenas were far better than the 11 their predecessors scooped up in 2014.
All of the four gold medals the athlete produced came from or female campaigners a first for the country, making them the sweetest of the 67 the Philippines had won so far.
Except for Hidilyn Diaz’s first place windup in weightlifting, one of the original sports contested when the quadrennial conclave began in 1951 in New Delhi, all others came from unlikely sources – golf and skateboarding.
Teener Yuka Saso, not only broke a 32-year gold medal drought on the fairways since Ramon Brobio ruled the men’s individual play in 1982 in Seoul, she also became the first woman to triumph in the par busting sport and with couple at that.
The 17-year-old’s feat in the individual event, likewise gifted the country its first in the team competition in a teamup with eventual bronze medallist Bianca Pagdanganan and Lois Kaye Go.
Skateboarding, reportedly, will be played in in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, and Filipina Margielyn Didal made sure the new discipline could be one major source of medals for the country in the future by ruling the street version of the sport, rounding out the national contingent’s four gold victories.
No one or no group has yet claim responsibility for this renaissance of what was diagnosed as a dying state of Philippine sports, but, former equestrienne Asiad gold medalist herself Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski said the Philippine can claim the all-Filipina heroics as victory of the woman empowerment movement this part of the world.
The Philippines was represented by a 272–athlete strong delegation that competed in 31 sports. Outside of weightlifting, golf and skateboarding though, only boxing, ju-jitsu, taekwondo, pencat silat, wushu, cycling, and karate went home with a minted jewel each.
Boxing, still the winningest contingent so far with a total 15 Asian Games gold medal harvest, could only account with one of two silver medals this time in the person of flyweight Rogen Ladon.
Judo, too, had a silver, a first in the sport, with another Fil-Japanese Kiyomi Watanabe earning the honor in the 63-kg. division of his event.
Carlos Paalam in light-fly and middleweight Eumir Marcial were the only medalists with two bronze mints in the sport headed by Philippine Olympic Committee president Ricky Vargas.
Surprisingly, Filipino pencat silat aces led the bronze medal winners in Jefferson Rhey Loon, Dines Dumaan, Cherry May Regalado and Almohaidib Abad.
Not to be outdone, our taekwondo jins collected three bronze medals -- Dustin Mella, Jeordan Domincguea and Rodolfo Reyes Jr., (men’s team); Janna Oliva, Juvenile Crisostomo and Rinna Babanto (women’s team) and Pauline Louise Lopez (women’s 57-kg division).
Wushu had two -- Agatha Chrystenzen Wong women's taijiquan and Divine Wally, women's sanda.
Daniel Caluag, lone gold medallist in 2014, only settled for bronze this time in BMX discipline in cycling.
Margarita Ochoa in jiu jitsu (women's -49 kg), Junna Tsukii in Karate (women's Kumite 50kg) completed the Philippines’ medal winners.
From 22nd place in the 2014 Asiad, the Philippines improved by three notches but still ranked behind Southeast Asian Games rivals Thailand (12th, 11 golds, 14 silvers, 46 bronzes), Malaysia (14th, 6-12-15) and Vietnam (17th, 4-16-18) in tentative medal table as of this writing.
Other late results Sunday saw the men’s canoe double 200m team of Hermie Macaranas and Ojay Fuentes finished fifth in Palembang while John Chicano placed 10th and Nikko Huelgas took 16th in the men’s triathlon.
The pre-Asiad much ballyhooed women’s volleyball team lost to Indonesia, 25-17, 23-25, 25-19, 25-20, and landed in eighth with a measly win in the sport the Filipino spikers were once ranked fourth.
The men’s soft tennis team bowed out at the quarterfinal stage.
Athletics, the second winningest next to boxing with overall gold haul 12 again failed to revive the era of former sprint queen Lydia de Vega.
Swimming wins 10 gold until 1986, continued its zero gold performance.
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