INCHEON, Korea—Wushu artists rose to lift Team Philippines on Tuesday in the 17th Asian Games, with one gaining a shot at the gold medal and the other bagging a silver that somehow satiated crowd avidity for victories outside of the tense expectations of Gilas Pilipinas’ rout of the Indian basketball squad.
Jean Claude Saclag advanced to the final of the men’s -56kg Sanda at 3 pm Wednesday by beating Narender Grewal of India, 2-0, in a performance that sent the whole delegation on an upbeat mode going into the remaining competitions for the lean team of 150 athletes.
Saglag will face Fuxiang Zhao, who walked over the Philippines’ Franciso Solis in the other half of the -56kg Sanda semifinals. Solis had wanted to play but a broken right rib sustained during the preliminaries was aggravated when he decided to go for the sure bronze medal by playing injured in the quarterfinals, where he beat Wong Ting Hong of Hong Kong.
“He (Solis) still wanted to play. He said he wanted to get a shot at the gold medal, but physicians have warned him against playing even yesterday (Monday), but he still went to claim the sure bronze,” said Deputy Chief of Mission Julian Camacho, also the Secretary General of the Wushu Federation of the Philippines.
Daniel Parantac also saved a silver medal for the Philippines in the men’s Taijiquan event, scoring 9.68 points sans deductions behind China’s Chen Zhouli, whose near-perfect performance was worth 9.78 points in the judges’ eyes.
Parantac’s silver has the best glint Filipino athletes while waiting for Saclad’s gold medal game against his Chinese foe.
Wushu’s performance was not the only highlight for the Philippines which started slow in this quadrennial competition with an unexpected defeat in weightlifting.
Focus was on Gilas Pilipinas, which routed India, 85-76, before a capacity crowd at the Hwaseong Sports Complex Gymnasium.
Gilas’ win was witnessed by a very large Filipino crowd.
A member of the delegation claimed the venue was almost filled by Gilas fans that threw her back to her experience during last year’s Fiba Asia Championship in Manila.
“Puro Filipino ang nag-cheer sa game. Gilas all the way talaga. After the match, naging manipis na agad ang crowd. Iba talaga ang hatak ng Gilas,” she narrated.
Gilas will face Fiba Asia tormentor Iran on Thursday.
The Philippines only needed to win over India to advance into the round of 16. Gilas was seeded in this tournament.
Swimmer Jasmine Alkhadi was fifth fastest in her heat in the women’s 100m butterfly, registering at one minute and 2.34 seconds.
Her event was topped by China’s Chen Xinyi, which logged just 58.56 seconds.
Alkhadi placed ninth overall. Her only chance at making it to the medal race is if one of the Top 8 withdraws for whatever reason.
Bowler Frederick Ong is presently at 12th while teammate Jo-Mar Roland Jumapao is 35th among 52 entries in the men’s singles squad A.
Squad B saw Kenneth Chua at 20th, Enrico Lorenzo Hernandez at 23rd, Engelberto Rivera at 25th and Benshir Layoso at 40th in a field of 51 players.
In the men’s individual compound ranking of archery, Paul Marton Dela Cruz is fourth, Earl Benjamin Yap is 19th, Ian Chipeco 25th and Jose Ferdinand Adriano 30th in a field of 56.
The women’s individual compound saw Abbigail Tinduggan at 16th, Amaya Amparo Cojuangco at 18th and Joann Tabanag at 24th in a field of 38 archers.
The men’s doubles sculls team of Roque Abala, Jr. and Alvin Amposta fell out of the repechage.
The boxing team starts its campaign today with an aim to surpass its one gold, one silver, one bronze medal performance in the 2010 edition of the Games in Guangzho, China.
Charly Suarez will be pitted against Uzbekistan’s Elnur Abdurimov in a lightweight clash at 7 pm while Mario Fernandez takes on Thailand’s Doncha Thathi in a bantamweight duel at 2 pm.