Tae kwon do jin Jade Zafra and cyclist Daniel Caluag delivered one gold each on Thursday to raise the country’s gold medal output to 22 in the 2013 Southeast Asian Games in Naypyitaw, Myanmar.
Zafra, a University of Santo Tomas standout, outclassed Amornthep Namwiset of Thailand in the finals, 7-1, to rule the women’s 53-57 kg. event.
Caluag, a the London Olympics veteran, dominated the men’s BMX cross category with a time of 31.994 seconds.
Caluag’s brother, Christopher John, completed a 1-2 punch for the Philippines by finishing second in 32.555 seconds. Gusti Bagus Saputra of Indonesia placed third (32.825).
Zafra and Caluag will join the elite list of Filipino gold medalists. The gold winners are Christopher Ulboc Jr., Jesson Ramil Cid, Henry Dagmil, Archand Christian Bagsit and Eric Cray of athletics; Daniel Parantac, Jessie Aligaga and Dembert Arcita of wushu; Josie Gabuco, Mark Barriga and Mario Fernandez of boxing; Ramon Franco of karatedo; Mark Galledo of cycling; Nestor Cordova of rowing; Princess Superal of golf; Dennis Orcollo of billiards; the men’s archery compound team; the men’s basketball team; the women’s golf team; and the men’s poomsae tae kwon do team.
With 22 golds, 25 silvers and 29 bronzes, the Philippines, currently ranked seventh, is just one-gold behind sixth-placer Singapore (23-22-31). Defending champion Thailand is still on top with 74-74-63 followed by host Myanmar (58-46-54), Vietnam (57-55-64), Indonesia (53-62-76) and Malaysia (30-30-56).
Meanwhile, two-time judo champion Nancy Quillotes-Lucero has decided to retire after finishing second in the women’s under-45 kg. She lost to Sel Wee of host Myanmar in controversial match.
“Move on, it’s God’s will. I know the Lord has something much better for me. Maybe this is just one of His ways of testing me, my faith. But I’ve long ago put all my trust in Him, my fate in His hands,” said Lucero.
Lucero hails from Dulag, Leyte, and Yolanda wiped out the houses of her family and that of hers and her husband, Jyd, who she married after her 2011 Games stint.
“This is my last SEA Games. I’ll be turning 34 in February so it’s about time to focus on my family and having kids,” she said.
EMIL C. NOGUERA