Asiad first-timer Ilao lights up dim drive with bronze | Inquirer Sports

Asiad first-timer Ilao lights up dim drive with bronze

By: - Sports Editor / @ftjochoaINQ
/ 02:47 AM October 01, 2014
LEVITA Ronna Ilao (in blue) exchanges kicks with China Li Zhaoyi in the women’s taekwondo -49 kg semifinals in the Asian Games. NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

LEVITA Ronna Ilao (in blue) exchanges kicks with China Li Zhaoyi in the women’s taekwondo -49 kg semifinals in the Asian Games. NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

medal-tally-1001INCHEON—Playing in her first Asian Games has left Ronna Ilao all wide-eyed at the experience.

“I’ve been in the national team for only six months and this is my biggest tournament so far,” said the 21-year-old Lyceum student. “It’s very exciting for me.”

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Ilao has made an impression on the Games, too.

The fearless flyweight contributed to the country’s medal haul by beating Luisa dos Santos Rosa of Timor Leste, 6-1, in the taekwondo quarterfinals before yielding to Li Zhaoyi, 1-5, of China in the semifinals to settle for the bronze.

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Ilao opened up by beating Southeast Asian rival Thi Huong Giang Doan of Vietnam, using a scoring flurry in the second round to hammer out a 3-1 victory.

She engaged Li in a tense battle in the semifinal but got the raw end of a fierce exchange at the edge of the mat that gave the Chinese a 4-1 lead in the second round.

But the achievement seems to be only a bonus for Ilao, who is enjoying her every minute in the Athletes’ Village.

“I didn’t expect everything to be this huge,” she said with a smile. “It’s so overwhelming to be in the presence of so many athletes.”

But the thing she enjoys most? Going around in her Philippine jacket.

“It makes me really proud to represent our country,” said Ilao.

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TAGS: Asian Game, Ronna Ilao, Taekwondo
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