MANILA, PHILIPPINES — A bright young weightlifter, a seasoned wrestler, two exceptional arnisadores, and a highly decorated kickboxer powered Team Philippines to claim five gold medals in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games, leaving their mark on the international sporting stage.
The young weightlifter Vanessa Sarno, who is hailed as the potential successor to Olympic champion Hidilyn Diaz, displayed her dominance by setting a new snatch record and securing back-to-back women’s 71kg class gold.
In wrestling, Cristina Villanueva-Vergara’s triumphant return after 18 years exemplifies the resilience and skill of the older generation of athletes. Stepping in as a replacement after one of her teammates suffered an injury, Villanueva-Vergara’s happiness doubled as her 19-year-old daughter, Cathlyn, clinched a bronze medal in the 59kg category.
The success story continues with the remarkable performances of arnisadores Dexler Bolambao and Maria Ella Alcoseba, who conquered their respective divisions, and kickboxer Jean Claude Saclag, who achieved an impressive three-peat with four less than the nine-gold sizzler last Sunday.
Team Philippines’ collective efforts have resulted in a commendable medal haul, with 51 golds, 75 silvers, and 102 bronzes, proving their competitiveness and commitment to excellence. Although they currently rank fifth in the overall standings, the Filipinos hold a significant lead over their closest competitor, Singapore.
The final day of the games holds great significance for the redemption-seeking Gilas Pilipinas basketball team. The chance to claim the gold medal, especially against Cambodia, a team that previously defeated them, provides a thrilling opportunity for the team to showcase their skills and secure a victory that would resonate with the Filipino people.
As the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games draw to a close, the remarkable performances, records broken, and triumphs achieved by Team Philippines reflect the nation’s sporting spirit and dedication to success. – WhatALife!/Jayve
Also read: Filipino Gymnast Carlos Yulo Captures Individual All-Around Gold in SEA Games 2023
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