Lopez captures gold, Agojo good for silver


NANJING—Fil-American Pauline Lopez, who honed her skills  training with the boys, clinched the girls’ 55 kg taekwondo gold medal yesterday in the second Asian Youth Games at Longtian gym here.

Lopez, who turned 17 only last Saturday, beat Kazakhstan’s Fariza Andangorova, 4-2, in the finals to give the Philippines its second gold in the 45-nation meet.

Born to Filipino parents in Gardena, California, the 5-foot-5 Lopez nurtured her talent competing with boys at Vistamar High in El Segundo, eight kilometers away from home.

“I’m still shaking. I’m speechless. All the hard work paid off,” said Lopez, who at 14 was the youngest Filipino athlete in the 2011 Guangzhou Asian Games.

Lopez, the 2011 Korean Open champ, edged Jordan’s Rania Fawareh, 8-7, in the semifinals after drawing a bye in the eliminations.

The taekwondo jins thus matched the girls golfers’ gold-silver output as Francis Agojo earlier snared the silver in the boys’ 53 kg class.

Agojo, a 16-year-old student of Ateneo de Manila, bowed to Thai Ramnarong Sawekwiharee, 7-11, in the finals after routing Malaysian Navin Ari Krisnasamy in the quarterfinals, 11-4, and nipping Kazakhstan’s Yerassyl Kaiyrbek in the semis, 9-8.

“I tried my best to win the gold but I’m proud of what I achieved here,” said Agojo, a gold medalist in last year’s Korea Open.

Team Philippines now has two gold and two silver medals with two days of action left in the games for athletes 14 to 17 years old.

Mia Legaspi and Princess Superal scored a one-two finish in golf on Tuesday as PH surpassed its finish in the 2009 Singapore edition where it landed a silver and a bronze.

Jurence Mendoza, already assured of at least a bronze medal after reaching the tennis semifinals, was scheduled to face Indian Garvit Batra for a finals berth yesterday.

Mendoza’s chances improved after Chinese top seed Zheng Weiqiang, the No. 55 youth player in the world, was stunned by Kazakhstan’s Dmitriy Popko, 6-4, 6-3.

Meanwhile, the Philippines’ 3-on-3 basketball team of Isaac Go, Patrick Ramirez and Andrei Carucot lost to Iran, 14-16, in the quarterfinals Wednesday night.

The Filipino dribblers, who came here with the minimum three-player lineup, took a 9-1 lead only to allow the Iranians to seize control, 14-13, with 48 seconds left.

“It was a won ballgame but playing here minus one player as substitute took its toll on our players,” said coach Nic Jorge.

In girls’ swimming, Catherine Bondad, Jethro Chua and Rafael Sta. Maria advanced in their 100m free heats Thursday morning.

Bondad clocked 1:00.79 while Chua and Sta. Maria qualified with faster times of 54.03 and 54.34 for the next round set last night.

In athletics, the Richardson twins, Kayla and Kyla, made it to the semifinals of the girls’ 200 meters scheduled last night at Nanjing Olympic Stadium.

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