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Diaz shines in PH’s second magical day

BY NICK GIONGCO

CLARKFIELD, Pampanga – Traditional martial arts arnis and cycling provided host Philippines with much-needed oomph in the early part of Monday as action intensified across Luzon with Hidilyn Diaz expectedly won her event  in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.

Hidilyn Diaz wins in weightlifting during the SEA Games qualification at Ninoy Aquino Stadium, December 2, 2019. Captured using Canon 5D Mark IV with 300mm f4 lens (Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

Hidilyn Diaz celebrates weightlifting’s 55kg class Monday at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium. Captured using Canon 5D Mark IV with 300mm f4 lens (Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

Less than 24 hours after grabbing five gold medals, arnis added another three to its growing collection on wins by Elmer Manlapas in the full contact padded stick featherweight division, Carloyd Tejada in welterweight and Jesfer Huguire in bantamweight.

There were still four women bets in the semifinals – Sheena Del Monte (bantam), Jedah Soriano (feather), Ashley Monville (lightweight) and Abegal Abad (welter) – and should they prevail, they would be going for the gold also on the same day.

But the day belonged to Diaz who topped the women’s 55kg class for her first-ever SEA Games gold medal.

The Rio Games silver medal winner hoisted the 91 kilograms in the snatch and 120 in the clean and jerk for a total of 211, surpassing her performance in the Asian Games where she had a 207 total.

As the campaign of all 11 nations got into the halfway mark of the day, the Philippines held onto the top spot with a tally of 29-17-9 (gold-silver-bronze). A distant second was Vietnam (10-17-13) and Indonesia (6-8-7) at third.

In the Kuala Lumpur Games two years ago, the Philippines finished a poor fifth with 24 gold, 33 silver and 64 bronze medals.

During the morning sessions, cycling (mountainbike) roduced two gold medals and duathlon came up with one before pencak silat put one more.

After streaking to 22 gold medals during the first day, an output that nearly matched the country’s total production in the 2017 SEAG in Kuala Lumpur, John Derrick Farr and Lea Denise Belgira made it a sweep of the downhill event in Laurel, Batangas.

Farr, 23, was timed 2 minutes and 41.43 seconds in the 1.5-km distance race while Eleazar Barba, also of the Philippines, was the runnerup after coming in a minute and 36 seconds slower. Indonesia’s Andu Prayoga was awarded the bronze with a clocking of 2:47.68.

Belgira, meanwhile, took top honors  after doing 3:09.78, relegating two Indonesians –Tiara Prastika (3:16.98) and Vipavee Deekaballes (3:17.60) for second and third, respectively.

Over in Subic Bay in Zambales, Monica Torres ruled duathlon with nary a trouble after breaking away early en route to a clocking of 2 hours, eight minutes and 44 seconds in the 10-kilometer run, 40-km bike and 5-km run.

Thailand’s Pareeya Sonsem settled for the silver with a 2:11.18 effort and Vietnam’s Thi Phuong Nguyen submitted 2:14.20 for third.

Though the numbers suggest that Torres just cruised to the win, it was some sort of a miracle that she made it after revealing that she was sick to her stomach hours before the start of the race.

“I wasn’t feeling well and it was difficult for me because I threw up and that’s the reason why I ran out of gas,” said Torres, a seasoned campaigner internationally but a first-timer in the SEAG.

“It must have been something I ate but the support from the people was strong and I just could not let them down ,” added the Powerman Asian Duathlon champion about her ordeal.

Pencak silat, an Indonesian martial art, produced a gold for the Philippines after Edmar Tacuel topped the male tunggal event in Subic Bay.

Meanwhile, as Luzon braces for the impact of Typhoon Tisoy, which is expected to hit Metro Manila, Southern Luzon, Central and Northern Luzon on Tuesday, Phisgoc Executive Director Tom Carrasco said an emergency meeting has been set to determine which sports in the Subic Bay cluster are going to be scrapped and allowed to proceed.

There are 15 events on tap in Subic Bay, mostly water sports, and some sports may have to be moved to a later date.

Among the sports hosted by Subic include rowing, canoe-kayak, traditional boat race, windsurfing, open water swimming, triathlon and duathlon, beach volleyball and beach handball.

Dancesport spiked host Philippines’ huge haul with 10 gold medals while traditional martial art arnis handed over five, sepak takraw and triathlon with two apiece, gymnastics, kurash and wushu with one each.

The 2019 SEAG features 530 events in 56 sports and competitions are scattered all over Luzon with the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac, as main hub although Metro Manila is venue to the marquee sports like basketball, boxing and volleyball.

With the Philippines off to a blazing start, the quest of winning the overall title seems to be right on track with more than eight days of competition in the calendar.

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