Poomsae artist Perez gets first Asiad medal for PH
Patrick King Perez gave the country something to cheer for on Sunday, delivering the first podium performance for Team Philippines in the 19th Asian Games (Asiad) with a bronze finish in the men’s individual poomsae here in Hangzhou, China.
“Just a few months back I was holding a gold medal in the SEA (South East Asian) Games, so it’s really hard to believe that I’ve won a medal again in my first Asian Games,’’ said Perez after his dual routine took him as far as the semifinals, where he lost to Chinese Taipei’s Ma Yun Zhong.
“I told myself that my next target [after the SEA Games] is the Asian Games. I might not have won the gold, but it’s unbelievable that I got a bronze,’’ said 23-year-old Perez of his performance in the competition that merges recognized and freestyle events. “This is a dream come true.’’
Even without bringing home a medal, skateboarder Mazel Alegado was a scene-stealer for the Philippines on Sunday.
At 9 years old, Alegado is the youngest athlete competing in the Asian Games and reached the women’s park skateboarding final at Qiantang Roller Sports Centre.
She has a lot of ground to cover though.
The Filipino prodigy finished seventh among the eight participants who survived the qualification round and made it to the final skate-off.
Alegado scored 44.86 points in her first run and delivered her best performance in her second try, garnering 56.96 points to earn a shot at the medal in the women’s park final on Monday.
Japan’s Hinano Kusaki top scored with 78.06 points, Mao Jiasi of China placed second with 77.06 points, while Japanese Mei Sugawara finished third with 75.33.
Margielyn Didal, the 2018 Asian Games gold medalist, will start her campaign in women’s street skateboarding on Tuesday.
Perez and Alegado were the early highlights on Sunday, after the national swimming team delayed the debut of the much-hyped Kayla Noelle Sanchez by saving her for the final of the women’s 4×100 freestyle relay that was yet to start at press time.
Two-time Olympian Jasmine Alkhaldi and Southeast Asian Games gold medalists Xiandi Chua, Teia Salvino and Chloe Isleta rolled the red carpet out for Sanchez, qualifying the women’s team to the finals after finishing third in the second heat in three minutes and 48.06 seconds.
The Philippines finished the heat behind China’s 3:37.53 and Japan’s 3:40.89.
While Perez managed to perform creditably in the dual discipline of poomsae, which is a new modification for the Asiad, three-time SEA Games champion Jocel Lyn Ninobla hit a wall against a formidable foe.
Ninobla, a certified recognized poomsae virtuoso, lost to South Korea’s Cha Yeaeun in the women’s individual poomsae round of 16.
Cha garnered 7.680 in her two-way effort, narrowly beating Ninobla’s 7.560.
“Mixing recognized with freestyle is a new event. Good thing I was able to adapt quickly since I already competed in the freestyle in 2019,’’ said Perez.
The De La Salle University standout put together an average output of 6.910 after registering 7.640 and 6.180, respectively, while Ma caught the eye of the judges and received a combined effort of 7.450 built on his routine of 8.000 and 6.900.
“It’s a good start and a good sign,’’ said Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol’’ Tolentino of Perez’s bronze.
Ma eventually settled for the silver medal after South Korea’s Kang Wan-jin ruled the final with a 7.730 to top the Taiwanese’s total of 7.480. INQ