Darius Venerable further enhanced the Philippines’ already stellar performance at the World Combat Games by ruling the men’s individual poomsae in taekwondo late Monday night in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
“I feel blessed with this victory. I wouldn’t be here without all the support I’ve received,” Rev. said.
The ace jin earned the country’s third gold medal in an event where it had previously gone home empty-handed.
“When the Philippines first participated in this tournament in 2010, we had no medals. Now 90 percent of our athletes will come home with medals,” said crew chief Alvin Aguilar.
Venerable topped his event with 9,280 points to take the title from Lee Namhun of South Korea and Singaporean Darren Yap.
The gold topped the bronze he won earlier this year as part of the mixed freestyle team poomsae with Kobe Macario, Jeordan Dominguez, Zyka Santiago and Juvenile Crisostomo at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Crisostomo and Macario repeated that SEA Games performance in these Games by finishing third in the mixed freestyle pair.
Kaila Napolis in Jiujitsu and Muay Thai artists Alyssa Mallari and Rhichein Yosorez also won gold for the Philippines.
The Philippines also won five silver and five bronze medals and finished in the top 20 of the 80 participating countries. “We have had a very solid performance on the world stage as almost everyone we have sent from different sports and events has produced a medal,” said Aguilar, president of the Wrestling Association of the Philippines.
Muay fighter Rudzma Abubakar also climbed the medal podium with silver on Monday. She lost 20-18 to Thailand’s Nirawan Tangchio in the women’s -54kg final.
Agatha Wong and Clement Tabugara Jr. each won silver alongside muay wai crew specialist Islay Erika Bomogao, while Jones Inso and Thornton Quieney Sayan claimed a pair of bronze medals.
Wrestlers Fierre Afan and Maria Aisa Ratcliff took the other two bronze medals. INQ