PH fighters bag 2 golds
ASHGABAT—Margarita Ochoa and Annie Ramirez delivered as promised as the Philippines grabbed two gold medals in jiu-jitsu Tuesday night in the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games.
Ochoa seized the first gold for the country in these Games after an overwhelming 5-0 triumph against Le Thu Trang Du of Vietnam in the finals of the women’s Ne-waza -45kg held at the Martial Arts Arena here.
An hour later, Ramirez took the same route, asserting her mastery over Jenna Kaila Napolis, 9-0, in an all-Filipino finale of the women’s Ne-waza -55kg category.
“All the hard work finally paid off,” said the 26-year-old Ramirez, the reigning continental and Asian Beach Games champion.
“I was really focused and prepared coming here,” added Ramirez, a protege of Filipino judo icon John Baylon.
Ramirez and Ochoa will both earn P2 million each from the government for their feat as they jacked up the Filipinos’ medal tally to two gold, three silver and one bronze medals in the ongoing 62-nation meet.
“I can’t describe this feeling. I train every day but the most important preparation was fixing my mind-set,” said the 27-year-old Ochoa.
“I just talked to God on every fight. He was the one who fought for me out there,” added the three-time jiu-jitsu world champion.
Gian Taylor Dee tried to make it three in a row but Omar Alfadhli of UAE derailed him in the finals of the men’s -56kg. Also settling for a silver was Marc Alexandar Lim (-69kg).
Overall, Filipino jiu-jitsu fighters ended their campaign with two gold and two silver medals, surpassing the Philippine medal tally of one gold and two bronzes in the 2013 Incheon edition of the AIMAG.
Lim faced a very familiar foe and again came up short in grounding Talib Saleh Mohamed Sale Alkirbi.
Though quite disappointing for Lim, his silver-medal feat in men’s jiu-jitsu was hands-down a proud moment for the Philippines.
“I have to learn from it. It’s actually my third time fighting him,” said the 20-year-old submission specialist from Davao City. “He’s the only guy that I bumped into that I haven’t beaten yet.”
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