Meggie Ochoa plays through fever, hip pain to claim second gold for Team PH | Inquirer Sports

Meggie Ochoa plays through fever, hip pain to claim second gold for Team PH

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 05:30 AM October 06, 2023

Asian Games - Hangzhou 2022 - Ju-jitsu - Xiaoshan Linpu Gymnasium JJI, Hangzhou, China - October 5, 2023 Gold medalist Philippines' Meggie Ochoa poses during the medal ceremony for the Women's 48Kg

Asian Games – Hangzhou 2022 – Ju-jitsu – Xiaoshan Linpu Gymnasium JJI, Hangzhou, China – October 5, 2023 Gold medallist Philippines’ Margarita Ochoa poses during the medal ceremony for the Women’s 48Kg REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

HANGZHOU, China–Hands down the most decorated Filipino in her sport, no amount of harm can force Meggie Ochoa to quit.

But after striking gold in the 19th Asian Games here, the seasoned grappler takes a step back from the mat to ponder on her athletic future.

“For now, I would rather pay more attention to my recovery before I think of any competitions within the year,’’ said Ochoa, who subdued current world champion Balqees Abdulla of the United Arab Emirates in the -48kg final of women’s jiu jitsu on Thursday that gifted the Philippines its second gold medal.

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It was a win carved out of sheer will, having been fever-stricken in the last three days. And not only that, Ochoa is still recovering from a meniscus tear in her left knee sustained during the Cambodia Southeast Asian Games early this year where the two-time champion settled for a silver medal.

Second silver

A silver is what pug Eumir Marcial settled for after the light-heavyweight bet fell to China’s Tanglatihan Tuohetaerbieke in their men’s boxing finals.

Marcial was ahead in the judges’ scorecards in the first round after connecting on a right hook that had Touhetaerbieke receiving a standing eight count.

But the Chinese used his longer reach and bounced back with quick combinations that also put Marcial on a standing eight to level the count after two rounds and eventually gain a 5-0 win.

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Ochoa came to this city known as China’s e-commerce and artificial intelligence hub with a fever that never went away. That’s why she was so emotional when she was declared the winner by advantage.

“There were too many obstacles even before I came here. It only became worse when I got sick,” Ochoa, tears running down her cheeks, said. “But I kept the faith and told myself to just do my best to win.

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The 33-year-old, a two-time world champion in 2018 Sweden and last year in Abu Dhabi, subdued Mongolia’s Odgerel Batbayar in the round-of-16 and then submitted Kazakhstan’s Nazgul Rakhayeva in the quarterfinal at the Xiaoshan Linpu Gymnasium.

Then the challenge grew larger after hurting her hip before tripping Thailand’s Pechrada Kacie Tan, 4-2, in the semifinals.

All the piercing pain went away when the referee raised Ochoa’s hand in the gold medal match against the 19-year-old Abdulla.

“What I had gone through was different. I went through several challenges, but these struggles only made victory sweeter,’’ said Ochoa.

As the third man in the mat signaled the start of their match, Ochoa clinched and immediately sent Abdulla to the ground.

Repeatedly trying to extricate herself from Ochoa’s tight grip, Abdulla was overwhelmed by the Filipino for nearly three minutes until the clock expired.

“I can feel pain (in my hip), but I still have to check if there’s an injury,’’ said Ochoa, whose victory upped Team Philippines medal total to two gold, one silver and nine bronze medals overall.

“My prayers got answered. This victory is different from the rest because here, I represent our country,’’ said Ochoa.

“This one is for our country. I hope my teammates win more medals,’’ said Ochoa.

Asian Games - Hangzhou 2022 - Karate - Linping Sports Centre Gymnasium KTE, Hangzhou, China - October 5, 2023 Bronze medallist Philippines' Sakura Alforte poses during the medal ceremony for the

Asian Games – Hangzhou 2022 – Karate – Linping Sports Centre Gymnasium KTE, Hangzhou, China – October 5, 2023 Bronze medallist Philippines’ Sakura Alforte poses during the medal ceremony for the Women’s Individual Kata REUTERS/Ann Wang

Meanwhile, Sakura Alforte added to the PH medal cache by pocketing a bronze in the individual kata event of women’s karate.

The SEA Games champion got the approval of the judges, garnering 41.90 points in defeating Chien Hui Hsuan of Chinese Taipei (41.30).

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Alforte, 21, almost flawlessly executed her Ohan Dai routine, pleasing nearly everybody at the packed Linping Sports Centre Gymnasium.

“I just feel happy right now. I worked and trained hard to be here and it bore fruit,’’ said Alforte, who placed third in the World Junior Championships last year in Konya, Turkiye

TAGS: Asian Games, Meggie Ochoa

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