Ochoa Ochoa: Second gold for Team Philippines in the 19th Asian Games. PSC/POC photo

Gold mine for Team Philippines

October 6, 2023 Robert Andaya 358 views

THE Brazilian sport of jiu-jitsu is providing the brightest moments for Team Philippines in the 19th Asian Games.

A day after three-time World IBJJF jiu-jitsu champion Meggie Ochoa emerged as the second Filipino gold medalist in Hangzhou, Annie Ramirez captured the country’s third gold — and second in jiu-jitsu — by winning the women’s -57kg at the Xiaoshan Linpu Gymnasium on Friday.

A three-time champion in the Southeast Asian Games, Ramirez defeated Galina Duvanova of Kazakhstan, 2-0, in the final to complete her unbeaten run in the prestigious competition considered as the “Olympics of Asia.”

Ramirez also swept her first trhee matches against Le Thi Thuong of Vietnam, Fiona Toh of Singapore and Shamsa Alameri of the United Arab Emirates to advance to the final against Duvanova.

Ramirez’s triumph came just a day after fellow jiu-jitsu standout Ochoa topped the women’s 48kg event by beating Balqees Abdulla of the United Arab Emirates.

The 32-year-old Ochoa defeated Odgerel Batbayar of Mongolia in the preliminaries, and Nazkul Rakhayeva of Kazakhstan in the quarterfinals, both via submission.

In the semis, Ochoa dominated Pechrada Kacie Tan of Thailand via points, 4-2, in the semifinal match.

Aside from the two gold medals, jiu-jitsu has also contributed one bronze medal courtesy of Kaila Napolis in the women’s -52kg category.

Napolis, who made the country proud by bagging the Philippines’ first gold in the previous SEA Games in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in May, won over Hessa Alshamsi of UAE, 4-2, for the bronze.

World No. 2 EJ Obiena had the distinction as thefirst Filipino athlete to win a gold medal in Hangzhou after ruling the men’s pole vault competition.

Boxing champion Eumir Marcial had a chance to add another gold to the Filipinos’ campaign, but lost to Tanglatihan Tuohetaerbieke of host China late Thursday.

Marcial, who booked a berth to the Paris Olympics by advancing to the 80 kg finals, settled for the silver.

Another gold medal prospect is the Justn Brownlee-led Gilas Pilipinas, which will meet Jordan in the men’s basketball final.

The Filipinos defeated China, 77-76, in a heart-stopping semifinal battle.