Promising boxer Criztian Pitt Laurente of General Santos claimed the Philippines’ first gold medal in the Children of Asia International Games on Wednesday in Yakutsk, Russia.
The 16-year-old fighter posted a unanimous decision win over veteran pug Taltibek Sulchar of Kazakhstan, 30-29, 29-28, 29-28, in the gold-medal match.
“My opponent is good but I made sure that my jabs are well powerful. I cannot believe that I won gold since this is my first medal out of three international competitions. This is for my parents who are in General Santos and to my idol, senator Manny Pacquiao,” said Laurente.
Meanwhile, sprinter Veruel Verdadero and tae kwon do jin Beatrice Kassandra Gaerlan got one bronze each.
Verdadero took the third spot in the boys’ 200m as he registered 23.17 seconds, behind gold medalist Shalika Santhush of Sri Lanka (22.97) and silver winner Al Marwani Ahmed of Saudi Arabia (23.14).
Gaerlan, a 2015 Korea Open gold medalist, clinched the bronze in the girls’ 52-kg. division. She defeated jins from Thailand via golden point (1-0) and Bhutan (11-2) before yielding to her Mongolian foe, 6-7, in the semifinals to settle for bronze.
Abigail Valdez, however, lost to her quarterfinal opponent from Kazakhstan in the girls’ 44-kg. class.
On the other hand, Eduard Josh Buenavista fell short of getting his second medal as he wound up fourth in the boys’ 3,000m run. He won a silver in the 2,000m steeplechase event.
Sam Limos, a bronze medalist in 100m dash, also failed to advance to the 200m finals.
The Philippines now has one gold, one silver and four bronze medals.
JEAN RUSSEL DAVID