HANGZHOU—Patrick King Perez clinched bronze in taekwondo’s men’s individual poomsae on Sunday for the country’s first medal in the 19th Asian Games host China is beginning to dominate.
Perez, 23, combined grace with precision in reaching the semifinals but eventually yielded to Asia’s No. 2 Ma Yun Zhong in the freestyle event at the Lin’an Sports Culture and Exhibition Centre.
The Taiwanese tallied 7.450 against Perez’s 6.910. The Filipino, however, was contented with his accomplishment.
“I did my very best but I lost to a better player today,” Perez said. “I could not believe I won a bronze, I am really happy.”
“It’s a good start and a good sign,” POC president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said.
China was already running away in the gold medal race on Sunday night with 12, followed by South Korea with four and Japan two. Uzbekistan, Chinese Taipei and Hongkong each had one gold medal.
Team Philippines, whose participation is supported by the Philippine Olympic Committee and Philippine Sports Commission, ranked 15th with its one bronze medal so far.
Mark Ashley Fajardo, meanwhile, made a smashing debut after scoring a first round knockout of Bhutan’s Dorji Wangdi at the start of boxing competitions at the Hangzhou gymnasium.
The young Cebuano made it look easy by setting up Wangdi with a right straight and then delivering a left to the jaw that dropped his foe to the canvas.
The Bhutan tried to beat the mandatory eight count, but stood on wobbly legs, prompting the referee to stop the bout at the 2:21 mark of the light welterweight bout.
“I didn’t expect the knockout,” said Fajardo, who’s only in his second international competition.
His impressive win somehow made up for the loss of Aira Villegas in the women’s 50 kg class as the 28-year-old Filipina lost on points to Mongolia’s Yesugen Oyuntsetseg, 3-1.
The men’s 5×5 basketball team finally here with a positive mindset despite facing tremendous adversities prior to its departure.
Head coach Tim Cone and his 12-man team checked in at the Hangzhou International Airport Sunday afternoon following a six-hour flight from Manila. Not wasting precious time, the team did a light workout shortly after a brief rest upon arrival in a bid to further stabilize the integration of late inclusion Kevin Alas, Chris Ross, Marcio Lassiter, CJ Perez, and Arvin Tolentino to the team.
Completing the team are June Mar Fajardo, Justin Brownlee, Japeth Aguilar, Ange Kouame, Chris Newsome, Calvin Oftana, and Scottie Thompson.
Philippine Taekwondo Association secretary-general Rocky Samson is hoping Perez’s bronze medal will rub off on his teammates, especially in the sparring category.
Perez, a product of La Salle, posted 7.700 points to dispatch Souksavanh Chanthilath of Laos, who tallied 7.440 points.
Against Nepal’s Limbu Prem Bahadur, Perez put on another spectacular show for 7.560 points and won pulling away after his rival managed only 7.160.
The first casualty in the 12-man taekwondo team was Jocel Lyn Ninobla after facing one of South Korea’s aces, Cha Yeaeun, in the round of 16.
Ninobla performed well but managed 7.560 points with the Korean winning, 7.680.
Image credits: Nonie Reyes (CANON EOS R6)