SEA Games: Inspired by Folayang’s presence, Tabugara delivers wushu gold
MANILA, Philippines—Clemente Tabugara will defend his home turf no matter what it takes.
Fighting in the final match of sanda in the wushu competition of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, Tabugara knew his team’s fate of finishing with five gold medals, out of the possible six, rested in his weary hands.
So when he failed to take the win in the second round against Thailand’s Kittisak Suksanguan, Tabugara did all that he could do to take the gold medal in the men’s 65-kilogram division.
Tabugara threw everything he had, punishing Suksanguan with a mad dash of strikes and takedowns just to make sure that he would be the fifth gold medalist of his team.
“When we got to the third round, I knew in my mind and in my heart that I cannot lose here,” said Tabugara in Filipino Tuesday at World Trade Center. “I can’t lose in the Philippines.”
“I was confident that I would win because I’ve dreamt for so long of winning this gold medal for my country.”
Tabugara had a solid start to his match against Suksanguan but found himself on the receiving end of the Thai’s offense in the second and that lapse pushed the match to the third and deciding period.
If that wasn’t difficult enough for Tabugara, the one man he looked up to was watching him from the audience—two-time ONE World lightweight champion Eduard Folayang.
Despite the watching eyes of his idol, Tabugara decided to enjoy the moment and perform at his best in front of Folayang.
“He’s my idol and one of my inspirations,” said Tabugara, 24. “Of course I’m happy he was there and was watching us.”
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