SEA Games: Stunning routine hands Filipino pair muay gold

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 07:15 PM December 04, 2019

Filipino athlete Jearome Calica (red shorts) and Joemar Gallaza (blue shorts) wins gold at the wai kru muay thai men’s competition of the 30th EA Games in Subic, Zambales on Wednesday, December 4, 2019. INQUIRER PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—Jearome Calica and Joemar Gallaza have added a new dimension to their routine that any wai kru performer will find it hard to duplicate.

Showing a unique display of tricks and stunts, the Filipino pair claimed the gold medal in the Thai boxing dance ritual at the start of muay competitions in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.


“I think the impact of our power and technique gave us the advantage,’’ said Calica in Filipino after the duo averaged 9.59 points in the double-round event.

When they first took the floor, Gallaza and Calica demonstrated calmness but brandished the energy that moved the judges to throw in 9.59 points before the tandem exerted a better effort for an improved output of 9.61.


Both of them swore that the 40-day training camp in Thailand, the country where the combat sport originated, was the key to victory.

“We were able to adopt their (Thais) technique and at the same time improved the movements,’’ said Gallaza, a prized find from Iloilo.

The 37-year-old Calica from Baguio City said they were motivated to do better after Irendin Lepayan and Rusha Bayacsan settled for the silver medal in the women’s wai kru event.

“We needed to push ourselves more for us to get the gold. We are here in our country, so we don’t want to let the crowd down,’’ said Calica.

Hatem Rumijan and Mohamad Ismail of Malaysia placed second with 9.21 points and the Indonesian pair of Muhammad Sudirman and Lorens Walun got the bronze with 8.84 points in the four-nation event that includied Vietnam.

Thanawan Thongduang and Ruchira Wongsriwo of Thailand, who came here as the heavy favorites, didn’t disappoint and captured the gold with 9.48 points, just a shade above the score of Bayacsan and Lepayan.

“Knowing that Thailand got a very high score in the first round, we tried to cut the lead down by performing better in the second round,’’ said Lepayan in Filipino, a former pencak silat fighter. “We’re just not lucky to win this one.’’


Ha Huu Hieu Huynh and Thi Lua Tran of Vietnam placed third in the women’s category.

Wai kru (Thai boxing dance), which made its debut in the Games, is a ritual performed by each participant before engaging in a fight atop the ring.

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TAGS: 2019 SEA Games, muay, Philippines, SEA Games
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