John Baylon’s long judo reign ends
Unstoppable since his Games debut in the late 1980s, Baylon saw his 22-year-reign end Saturday after losing to 24-year-old To Hai Long of Vietnam in the judo semifinals of the under-81-kilogram category at the Judo Arena here.
The only time Baylon, now 47, failed to win a gold medal in the SEA Games was when the biennial meet was held in Brunei in 1993 because judo was not included in the calendar of events that year.
Otherwise, Baylon had been the most feared man on the mat, winning a total of nine gold medals as the longest reigning champion in the history of the Games.
The Vietnamese scored two points on a Yuko against Baylon, then Malaysia’s Marjan Abdullah beat the Filipino on a Waza ari to win their match for the bronze medal.
After the loss, Baylon announced his retirement and said he would concentrate on coaching jiu jitzu, the Brazilian martial art that is the in-thing in the fight world today with the emergence of mixed martial arts.
“I don’t think I have anything more to prove,” Baylon said in Filipino. “I can’t believe that I lost because this is our fourth match and I beat him in the previous three easily.”
His loss also comes as a blow to the gold medal-hungry PH contingent, which is trying to avoid its worst-ever stint in the Games.
Judo earlier contributed a gold to the PH cache through Nancy Quillotes in the under-45-kg division.
News and features about 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from August 19-30. Visit http://inq.news/seagames.
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