ALBANIA, MARTINEZ GO FOR GOLD TODAY
By Eddie Alinea
Wed, 04 Nov 2009
Albania (L) with Roach.
HANOI – Boxers Annie Albania and Mitchel Martinez goes for history as the two sees action in today's championship round matches of the women's boxing event in the Third Asian Indoor Games at Bah Ninh Gymnasium.
Eight finals bouts with the first fight starting at 3 pm (4pm Philippine time), highlights the close of the event where victories from Albania and Martinez will seal Philippines best showing ever in the AIG.
So far, the country has brought home one gold medals each during the 2005 Bangkok and 2007 Macau editions which came from the sport of muay.
“Lahat ng paghahanda namin ay ito na ang bunga. Kaya todo-bigay na kami para sa bansa,” said Albania who along with Martinez are the most experienced from the five lady boxers sent by Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (ABAP) and supported by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
A silver medalist in the last World Women's Championships, Albania made it to the final round with a 6-0 victory over India's Chhoto Loura while Martinez, the 2005 Asian champion, scored a 13-9 win over local bet Vui Nguyen Thi in Monday night semifinals.
““The entire nation is praying for the success of Albania and Martinez. They are in the Finals because of their patience, hard work and big sacraifice,” message sent by Phiulippine Sports Cossmmission chairman Harry Angping, who initially, refujsed to send the boxers as well as opther Southeasst Asian Games-bound athletes here for feat that they m ight get injured.
“Both Annie and Mitchel are veterans and we have good chances of winning the gold medal,” declared ABAP past president and current VP Manny Lopez who in 2001 pushed for the development of women's boxing in Asia.
Albania faces Thailand's Sopida Satumrum for the bantamweight gold while Martinez clashes with Cheng Dong of China for the light welterweight division.
Both Satumrum and Dong are formidable opponents with the Thai boxer the light-flyweight gold medal winner in the 2007 SEA Games having defeated Filipina Alice Kate Aparri.
Dong meanwhile defeated Martinez in the quarterfinals of the 60-kilogram division in the World Champioinships in Nimbo, China. She later went on to the finals and clinched the silver medal after bowing to Kathy Taylor of Republic of Ireland.
“We know our opponents and we have laid down our plans on how to beat them,” said coach Glicerio Catolico.
“Inaasahan naming mahirap na laban ito, but our boxers are prepared. Kailangan lamang na maging alisto sa bawat pagkakamali ng mga kalaban,”added Catolico who is being assisted by Roel Velasco.
Boxing action took a break yesterday and the nationals used the day to furnish their fight plan.
Philippines so far has secured two bronze medals courtesy of Josie Gabuco in pinweight and Biboy Rivera in the men's singles in bowling.
Sanshou 48-kilogram fighter Jennifer Lagilag became the lastest national player to contribute a medal as she has assured the country of another bronze as advances into the semifinals with the luck of the draw.
“So far so good," said RP Chief of Mission Julian Camacho. "We have two boxers fighting for gold medals while our athletes in muay, bowling, wushu, swimming and chess are still competing and possible contenders. I truly believe we are headed into a good showing this year."
Only five players are seeing action in the 48-kg weight class and Lagilag was lucky enough to draw a bye in the first round which starts today at Trinh Hoai Duc Gymnasium.
She opens campaign in the semifinals tomorrow against the winner between India's Purhrambam Sakuntala Devi and host bet Nguyen Thi Bich, who is the favorite being the 2007 World champion.
The other sanshou player from Philippines, Rhea May Rifani will open campaign at the 52 kilogram today against Vietnam's Nguyen Thuy Ngan.
China's Gong Jinlin completes the three players entered in the said weight category and competitors will go into a single round robin to determine their placings. Rifani takes a break tomorrow and will compete anew Friday against Gong.
The 2007 Best Male Athlete of the SEA Games in Thailand Miguel Molina also plunge into action today in the opening of the pool events at the My Dinh National Aquatics Sports Complex.
Molina arrived late Monday night and will swim in the preliminary heats of the 50m free, 100m breast and 200m individual medley.
The US trained swimmer who won three individual gold medals in Thailand will see action in seven events. He will swim in the 50m breast tomorrow, the 200m free on November 6 and capped his performance on November 7 in the 100m IM and 100m free.
Heats start at 8 am while finals will be held at 6 pm.
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