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Filipino bets struggle in Jakarta Asiad

 

By NICK GIONGCO

 

JAKARTA – Carlos Yulo, who had earlier been hyped as a sure gold medalist, flubbed his Asian Games debut Thursday, finishing seventh out of eight participants in the Artistic Gymnastics floor exercise at the Jakarta International Expo Hall D.

After topping the qualifying with a score of 14.500 last Monday, the 18-year-old Yulo could not duplicate his brilliance, almost falling forward following a difficult execution.

“I could not see the floor,” said Yulo, who was given a score of 13.500. Kakeru Tanigawa of Japan wound up eighth with 13.425 after committing the same landing mistake similar to that of Yulo’s.

The gold medalist was Korean Kim Hansol, who was awarded a 14.675, followed by Tang Chia-hung of Chinese-Taipeh (14.425) and Lin Chaopan of China (14.225).

Instead of crying a river, Yulo told reporters that he has “accepted the result” and is now moving on.

The promise of a gold from Yulo was trumpeted by gymnastics association head Cynthia Carrion, who was forlorn after Yulo’s failed bid.
Yulo’s fall from grace turned out to be the tone of the Philippine campaign on a day when just about anyone sent to compete wound up getting eliminated as bets from taekwondo, archery and fencing were stopped dead on their tracks.

The country’s bid for a podium finish in softball also ended disappointedly as the Blu Girls suffered a 6-3 loss to the Taiwanese.

It was the second straight defeat of the Blu Girls to the Taiwanese, having dropped a heart-breaking 3-2 loss at the end of the prelims.

The jubilation following weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz’s gold medal showing on Tuesday seems a long time ago as the Filipinos struggled to find the winning form.

As of 7 pm Thursday, the Philippines sank deeper into standings at 19th place with a paltry collection of one gold and five bronzes, behind Southeast Asian rivals Indonesia (8-6-10) at fifth spot, Thailand (6-4-16) at sixth, Singapore (2-1-5) at 13th, Vietnam (1-4-7) at 14th and Malaysia (1-3-1) at 15th.

China is pulling away with 55 gold, 39 silver and 21 bronze medals, followed by Japan (23-28-33) and Korea (15-20-27).

Unlike Diaz, the other lifters have been unsuccessful in their bids, most especially Nestor Colonia, who melted away Monday. The five bronzes were provided by Pauline Lopez of taekwondo and the men and women’s poomsae teams as well as Agatha Wong and Divine Wally of wushu.

During Thursday’s early sessions, archery could not find its target with Nicole Tagle being shown the door, 6-2, in the individual recurve round-of-16 by Korean hotshot Kang Chae Young, the two-time World Cup champion and world championships standout.

Tagle earned the right to face Kang in the quarters after edging Khatvn Mst Ety of Bangaldesh in the round of 32.

Arven Alcantara initially thought he would advance after dumping Alahmed Abdulla of Qatar, 44-11, in their round of 16 match in the -68 kg. class.

But the smile on his face  disappeared when he rammed into a super Korean entry in Lee Daehon, a 26-year-old three-time world champion, two-time Asian Games king and silver and bronze medalists in two Olympics.

Lee posted a 26-5 victory over Alcantara in a show of utter superiority.

The fencers also followed the path of the growing list of athlete-turned-tourists as the women’s foil lost to China in the quarterfinals after beating host Indonesia in the round-of-16.

The lone bright hope so far was the Philippine women’s volleyball team’s victory over Hong Kong in straight sets, 25-18, 25-21, 25-22.

The win was the team’s first  in three games after suffering defeats to Thailand and Japan.

But there seems to be hope on the horizon with boxing beginning its bid Friday following Thursday’s afternoon draw.

The Philippines could only come up with a gold medal four years ago in Incheon, thanks to Fil-Am BMX rider Daniel Caluag, who is here to defend his crown.

Jujitsu is also being seen as a gold producer what with Meggie Ochoa leading the surge.

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