Final 3-gold splurge lifts PH to 5th

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TEAM PHILIPPINES nailed three golds on the final day yesterday and hit its target of six victories to place fifth overall in the 7th Asian junior wushu championships at Makati Coliseum.

Noel Alabata  hacked out a 2-1 win in the boys’ -48 kg sanda (combat) to cap the three-gold splurge after Vanessa Jo Chan ruled the 15-under girls’  jianshu (straight sword) and  John-zenth Gajo topped the boys’ 12-under gunshu (staff).

“It was a sweet victory for me because I had to give it my best against a very tough opponent,” said the 17-year-old Alabata, who hails from Zamboanga, in Filipino after beating Vu Vinh Duc of Vietnam in the finals.

Alabata exploited new skills he learned from Taiyuan, China, where he trained for two months along with five other national team members.

Chan, who won a bronze the other night, bested seven participants with a score of 9.20 points.

“I can’t imagine winning the gold, it was dream come true for me,” said Chan, who is in eighth grade at Baguio Patriotic School in the Pines City.

The 13-year-old Chan, whose brother John Keithley is now a regular PH team member, was also part of the eight-man squad that won the team exhibition event.

Gajo, 11, amassed  8.99 points to claim the gold. The sixth grader from Project 6 Elementary School made it to the national pool only last year.

The Filipinos also picked up five silvers and five bronzes. Two years ago, the country came up with just one gold and two silvers.

China ran away with the team title with 18 golds and one silver, followed by Hong Kong (7-7-3), Iran (7-5-6), and Macau (6-6-9).

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    Congratulations to our Philippine wushu kids!

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