HANGZHOU, China – Taekwondo jin King Patrick Perez became the first medalist of Team Philippines by snaring the bronze in the men’s individual poomsae in the 19th Asian Games here on Sunday.
Combining speed and grace, Perez beat his first two rivals in the recognized event before losing to Asia’s No. 2 Ma Yun Zhong of Chinese Taipei in the semifinal of the freestyle event at Lin’an Sports Culture and Exhibition Centre.
The Taiwanese lived up to his status by tallying 7.450 against Perez’s 6.910.
Despite the defeat, Perez was still a picture of contentment, saying he did his “very best but I lost to a better player today.”
“I could not believe I won a bronze. I am really happy,” he added.
Philippine Taekwondo Association secretary-general Rocky Samson is hoping Perez’s bronze medal win will rub off on his teammates, especially in the sparring category.
Perez, a 23-year-oldproduct of De La Salle, posted 7.700 points to dispatch Souksavanh Chanthilath of Lao People’s Democratic Republic (7.440).
Against Nepal’s Limbu Prem Bahadur, Perez put on another spectacular show for 7.560 points and won pulling away after his rival managed only 7.160.
The first casualty in the 12-man taekwondo team was Jocel Lyn Ninobla after facing one of Korea's aces in Cha Yeaeun in the Round of 16.
Ninobla performed well, logging 7.560 points, but the Korean did more jaw-dropping moves and posted 7.680 to prevail.
On Monday, Southeast Asian Games champion Kurt Bryan Barbosa launches his gold medal bid against Uzbek Omonjon Otajonov in the men’s -58kg.
Also opening their campaigns are Alex Eala in tennis’ women’s singles against Sarah Ibrahim Khan of Pakistan at the Olympic Stadium and in the mixed doubles with Ruben Gonzales against Nepalese bets; and the 3x3 basketball men’s and women’s teams against Jordan at Deqing Geographic Information Park Basketball Court.
Joanie Delgaco will also aim to make history when she competes in the final of the women’s single sculls event at Fuyang Water Sports Center.
Delgaco, 25, will battle a formidable cast of competitors bannered by seasoned Uzbek Anna Prakaten, who bagged the silver medal in the Tokyo Olympics last year.
Also in the field are Shino Yonekawa of Japan, Liu Ruiqi of China, Leung Wing Wun of Hong Kong and Huang Yi Ting of Chinese Taipei.
If successful, it’s going to be the Filipinos’ first ever gold medal in the rowing competition and the first medal since Alvin Amposta and Nestor Cordova clinched a bronze in the men’s lightweight doubles sculls in the 2002 Busan edition.
In the men's skateboarding park, Jericho Francisco Jr. secured a finals berth after finishing third overall in Heat 2.
Jorrell Aristorenas, meanwhile, suffered a 0-2 loss to Brunei’s Rashed Alrowaihi at the start of the EA Sport FC Online competitions.
The 29-year-old London-born Aristorenas, who also dabbles in football as a Stallion FC player, dropped to the lower bracket, where he will meet India’s Charnjot Singh.
Thirty-six players representing 22 teams are competing at the 5,000-capacity China Hangzhou Esports Centre for the right to be crowned the inaugural Asian Games’ esports champion.
In the Arena of Valor action, Thailand’s Vatcharanan Taworn took down the Miguel Banaag-led Philippine Sibol team, 1-0, to move up in Group D.
Meanwhile, Ross Villarin plunges into action in the Street Fighter V: Champion Edition Round of 32 Match 4 on Tuesday against Chantasriviroje Sitta.
After debuting in the Asiad as a demonstration event in 2018 in Jakarta and Palembang in Indonesia, esports is coming in as a regular sport, expected to be the most watched in the Games’ calendar.
Asiad esports features five PC games and two mobile games, covering both multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) and single-player genres.
Gamers will be pitting skills in League of Legends, Arena of Valor Asian Games Version (also known as Honor of Kings); Peace Elite Asian Games Version (also known as PUBG Mobile); Dota 2; Dream Three Kingdoms 2; Street Fighter V: Champion Edition; and EA Sports FC (also known as FIFA Online 4).
In boxing, Mark Ashley Fajardo scored a first-round knockout of Bhutan’s Dorji Wangdi at the start of boxing competitions at Hangzhou gymnasium.
The Cebu native set up Wangdi with a straight right and delivered a left to the jaw that dropped his foe.
The Bhutan fighter tried to beat the mandatory eight count, but stood on wobbly legs, prompting the referee to stop the bout at the 2:21 mark.
The impressive win somehow made up for the loss of Aira Villegas in the women’s 50 kg class.
The 28-year-old lost by points to Mongolia’s Yesugen Oyuntsetseg, 3-1.
Olympians Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno hope to ride the momentum of Fajardo’s inspiring win as they also see action later Sunday.
Magno is slated to face Nigina Uktamova of Uzbekistan in the women’s 54 kg class, while Marcial, bronze medalist in the Tokyo Olympics, takes on Mongolia’s Dalai Ganzorig in the day’s last match in the 80 kg class. (With reports from PSC-POC Media Pool/PNA)