By Jean Malanum

GOLD WINNER. Taekwondo’s Darius Venerable gave Team Philippines its third gold medal after winning the men’s individual poomsae event at the King Saud University Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Sunday night (Oct. 29, 2023). Venerable tallied 9.280 points to claim victory. (Contributed photo)

MANILA – The Philippines ended its campaign at the World Combat Games with three gold medals, the last one coming from taekwondo’s Darius Venerable in the men’s individual poomsae competition at the King Saud University Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Sunday night.

Venerable tallied 9.280 points to claim victory while Korean Lee Namhum (9.200) and Singaporean Darren Yap Zong Han (9.100) pocketed the silver and bronze medals, respectively.

Earlier, Rudzma Abubakar settled for the silver medal when she lost to Thai Nirawan Tangchio, 18-20, in the women’s -54kg final.

“Maraming-maraming salamat po lahat ng sumuporta sa akin. Nagpapasalamat po ako sa Panginoon kasi siya po yung may dahilan kung bakit po nandito po ako ngayon (Thank you very much to everyone who supported me. I thank the Lord because He is the reason why I am here today),” said Venerable, who won the mixed freestyle team poomsae bronze medal at the Cambodia Southeast Asian Games with Juvenile Crisostomo, Jeordan Dominguez, Kobe Macario, and Zyka Santiago.

“I’m very happy that I was able to see our athlete (Venerable) deliver such an awesome performance. He was clearly the gold medalist,” Team Philippines Chef de Mission and Wrestling Association of the Philippines president Alvin Aguilar told the Philippine News Agency.

“I’m very happy as when the Philippines first entered this tournament in 2010, we had zero medals. Now, 90 percent of our athletes are going home with a medal.”

The Philippines bagged its first gold medal courtesy of Cambodia Southeast Asian (SEA) Games ju-jitsu champion Kaila Jenna Napolis, who defeated Anael Pannetier of France, 2-0, in the finals of the women’s -52kg Ne-Waza.

The second gold medal was delivered by Rhichien Yosorez and Kylie Mallari, who scored 9.20 points to beat compatriots Phillip Delarmino and Ariel Lampacan (9.03 points) in the mixed Mai Muay.

Aside from three golds, the Philippines also captured five silvers, including Abubakar’s medal, and five bronzes.

The other silver medal winners were muay thai’s Delarmino and Lampacan (mixed Mai Muay) and Islay Erika Bomogao (women’s Wai Kru); and wushu’s Agatha Chrystenzen Wong (women’s Taolu Taijiquan and Taijijian) and Clemente Tabugara Jr. (men’s Sanda 65kg class).

Those who secured the bronze medals were wushu’s Thornton Quieney Lou Sayan (men’s Taolu Nanquan and Nangun) and Jones Llabres Inso (men’s Taolu Taijiquan and Taijijian); wrestling’s Maria Aisa Ratcliff (women’s grappling GI 53kg class) and Fierre Afan (men’s grappling GI 71kg class); and taekwondo’s Juvenile Crisostomo and Justine Macario (mixed pair poomsae). (PNA)