Philippine sports 2015 highlights

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• Filipino-American Nonito Donaire Jr. reclaimed the World Boxing Organization junior featherweight title after scoring a unanimous decision win over Cesar Juarez of Mexico at the Coliseo Roberto Clemente in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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Donaire got 116-110, 116-110, 117-109 favorable decision from three judges to improve his record to 36 wins including 23 knockouts, and three losses.

• Donnie “Ahas” Nietes strengthened his grip as the longest-reigning Filipino world champion by successfully defending his WBO light flyweight and WBO minimum-weight belts via a unanimous decision vic-tory over Juan Alejo of Mexico in October.

• The Philippines remained a force to reckon with in dragon boat as it earned four gold medals in the prestigious 2015 International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) World Dragon Boat Racing Championships held at the Welland International Flatwater Center in Welland, Ontario in Canada.

The Filipino paddlers dominated the Premier Mixed 200m small boat, Senior A Mixed 200m small boat, 500m Small Boat Senior A Mixed and 500m Small Boat Premier Mixed events.

•The Philippine Swimming League (PSL) once again made an impact abroad as it bagged a total of 115 golds, 87 silvers and 53 bronzes in seven different international competitions – 16 golds in Thailand, 41 golds in Australia, 19 golds in Japan, nine gold sin Hong Kong and 38 golds in two meets in Singapore.

•The national tae kwon do poomsae continued its dominating performance by claiming four golds and one silver in the World Tae kwon do Hanmadang Championships held in Pyongtaek, South Korea.

The team won golds in Team Competition, Senior 1 Female Team, Junior 3 Pair and Senior 1 Pair and a second-place finish in the All Around Breaking Male. The members of the squad were Jeordan Dominguez, Moses Bullicer, Janna Dominique Oliva, Lee Robiegayle Navales, Ardee Landrito, Juvenile Crisostomo, Rinna Babanto, Elisabella Cesista, Jocel Lyn Ninobla, Patrick King Perez and Lee Robiegayle Navales.

• For the second consecutive edition, Gilas Pilipinas secured the silver medal in the FIBA Asia Championship held in Wuhan, China.

Bannered by former NBA star Andray Blatche, the Filipino cagers absorbed a heartbreaking 67-78 loss to host China in the championship match to settle for the runner-up honors.

In the 2013 edition held in Manila, the Philippines also placed second behind Iran.

• Weighlifters Nestor Colonia and Hidilyn Diaz delivered gold medals in their respective international competitions.

Colonia topped the men’s 56-kilogram event of the 2015 Asian Weightlifting Championship held in Thailand when he got a 121 kgs. in snatch and 153 in clean and jerk for a total of 274.

For her part, Diaz ruled the women’s 53-kg. division of the 1st Southeast Asian Weightlifting Championship also held in Thailand.

The 2008 Beijing Olympian scored 98 kgs. in snatch and 115 kgs. in clean and jerk for a 213-kg. total.

• With 29 golds, 36 silvers and 66 bronzes, the Philippines wound up sixth overall in the 2015 Southeast Asian Games in Singapore with boxing and athletics emerging as the top performers as they delivered five gold medals each.

The outcome, however, is still far from the country’s dominating performance in the 2005 Manila SEA Games where it claimed the overall championship crown with 112 gold medals in the bag.

•The Filipino differently-abled athletes shared the spotlight by winning 16 golds, 17 silvers and 26 bronzes in the 2015 Asean Para Games in Singapore.

Swimmer Ernie Gawilan was the most decorated athletes as he pocketed two gold medals and one silver.

More importantly, Gawilan earned a spot in the 2016 Paralympic Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil by virtue of his remarkable showing in the 400m freestyle and 100m freestyle events.

• Filipino cue masters Alex Pagulayan and Dennis Orcollo kept the Philippine flag flying in the world of pool. Pagulayan reigned supreme in the start-studded Derby City Classic Master of the Table and Derby City Classic One-Pocket in January while Orcollo copped the US Open 8-Ball crown in July.

• Golfer Yuka Saso (girls’ individual), and tracksters Bryan Jay Pacheco (boys’ javelin throw) and Jerry Belibestre (boys’ long jump) saved the Philippines from a dismal finish as they nailed the country’s three gold medals in the 7th Asean School Games held at the Tutong Sports Complex in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam.

Overall, the Philippines finished sixth overall with three golds, three silvers and 11 bronzes – far from last year’s 11-gold, 14-silver, 22-bronze fourth-place showing of the Filipinos when the country hosted the event at the Marikina Sports Complex.

EMIL C. NOGUERA

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