■ Ofelia C. Empian
Wushu-taulo athlete Jones Llabares Inso gave the Philippines its second bronze medal while wushu-sanda fighter Gideon Padua handed the bronze after the Wushu Federation forfeited his semis match for his safety during 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
Inso of La Trinidad, Benguet shared the podium behind China’s Gao Haonan and Hong Kong’s Hui Tak Yan with his combined performance generating 9.746 points in the taijiquan event and 9.470 in the taijijian discipline to bag the bronze medal.
The 26-year-old veteran taolu specialist, who is also taking up Mechanical Engineering, was the second to win a medal for the country after taekwondo jin Patrick King Perez won the first medal, a bronze, in the individual poomsae.
Fellow Cordilleran Gideon Padua got emotional after hurdling Turkmenistan’s Agajumageldi Yazymov, 2-0, in the 60-kilogram propelling him in the semi-finals.
The 2023 Southeast Asian Games silver medalist, in a post-bout interview with One Sports, said he is thankful to God for the strength for he was only able to rest a month after the SEAG in Cambodia where he injured his nose, instead of the recommended three-month rest due to his preparation for the Asiad.
“Masayang-masaya ako kasi ngayon sure medal na ako at first time kong mag-Asian Games,” Padua said.
He was set to face Iran’s Shoja Panahigelehkolaei for a shot at the silver on the evening of Sept. 27, but the Wushu Federation-Philippines stepped in and forfeited his match “in order to minimize the risk of further injury.”
This leaves PH wushu sanda team members Arnel Roa Mandal and Clemente Pabatang Tabugara, Jr. to fight in the semis for a shot for the gold medal.
Another homegrown athlete Thornton Lou Sayan, meanwhile, finished in 16th place in the nanquan and nangun final.
Former multi-medalist in taolu and now coach Daniel Parantac lauded the homegrown athletes for their dedication and performances during the Asiad, which is considered the second largest multi-sport event after the Olympic Games.
The Philippines fielded 396 athletes from 40 sports in this year’s Asian Games at the Xiaoshan Guali Sports Centre from Sept. 23 to Oct. 8.