September 26, 2023

World-class athletes from the Cordillera have contri-buted 11 medals to the country’s medal haul in the ongoing 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia from May 5 to May 17.

As of May 10, the Cordilleran athletes contributed one gold, four silver, and six bronze medals to the 25-39-42 medal haul for the Philippines that is currently in fourth place with Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia occupying the top three positions.

SEAG MEDALISTS — Baguio’s own Sandi Menchi Abahan (right) and her team won a gold medal in the obstacle course racing in the ongoing 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia. Other Cordilleran athletes, including those who made the region their second home, also won silver and bronze medals in other sports disciplines. — PSC photo

The lone gold medal was courtesy of Baguio City’s Sandi Menchi Abahan together with the obstacle course racing women’s team who rendered a heart-stopping performance during the team relay event.

Abahan partnered with Mecca Cortizano, Milky Mae Tejares, and Maritess Nocyao to outshine silver medalist Indonesia with barely a two-second lead; the latter was initially leading but lost in the warped wall as the final obstacle of the exciting sport.

Ariel Lampacan of Bokod, Benguet settled for silver in the men’s combat 55-kilogram of Kun Bokator while his counterpart, Marianne Mariano also of Benguet won silver in the women’s combat 55-kg. in the same event.

First debuted in the Cambodia 2023 SEA Games, Kun Bokator is a full-contact fighting style that utilizes strikes, kicks, throws, joint locks, and grappling techniques used by ancient armies of the Khmer empire.

Godwin Langbayan of Buguias, Benguet, meanwhile, bagged bronze in the men’s combat 70-kg. of Kun Bokator. 

Also successful in gaining bronze medals apiece in another traditional martial arts of Cambodia, the Kun Khmer, are Benguet athletes Felex Cantores in the men’s 67-kg., Zyra Bon-as in the women’s 51-kg., and Jenelyn Olsim in the women’s 54-kg. 

Winning silver medals apiece in vovinam are Benguet’s Emmanuel Cantores in the men’s 60-kg. and Kalinga’s Hergie Bacyadan in the women’s 65-kg.

Baguio City’s Jerlyn Kingad added another bronze medal in the vovinam women’s 55-kg.

Ifugao’s multi-awarded athlete Estie Gay Dulnuan Liwanen won a bronze medal in the mixed duo of jiu-jitsu with partner Christopher Gallego. Liwanen previously won the gold medal in the 63-kg. of the kurash in the 2019 SEA Games. – Ofelia C. Empian