Filipino boxers rule the ring in SEA Games finals

CLARK, PHILIPPINES (AFP) – Filipino fighters punched their way to seven boxing golds at the Southeast Asian Games’ very own Thrilla in Manila in front of a raucous home crowd on Monday night.

The fifth and final day of the boxing programme climaxed with 13 medal bouts at the Philippine International Convention Center Forum in the capital, and the boxing-mad host nation was not disappointed.

Carlo Paalam, Rogen Ladon, Charly Suarez, James Palicte and Eumir Felix Marcial picked up golds in the men’s bouts, while Josie Gabuco and Nesthy Petecio won women’s titles.

Thai fighters took five of the remaining gold medals, with Vietnam the only other nation on top of the podium.

The biggest ever Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, which was opened by local boxing icon Manny Pacquiao on November 30, entered its last day of full competition yesterday.

This edition is the first time eSports is being represented at a multi-sport competition sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee, and the first medals have been awarded at the San Juan Arena in the capital.

Malaysia won the first ever gold with a win in the category of mixed Hearthstone – a popular online card game – while Thailand took the mixed title for battle game Arena of Valor.

It was a day to remember for Singaporean Peter Gilchrist, 51, who won his sixth consecutive English billiards gold.

The reigning world champion and current world number one beat familiar foe Nay Thway Oo from Myanmar 3-0 at the Manila Hotel.

The Philippines have stormed ahead in the medals table with 136 golds, but there is a two-way battle between Thailand (84) and Vietnam (79) for second place. Indonesia were in fourth with 69.

Seven of the last 11 home nations have finished top of the medals table at the SEA Games, where the flexible sporting programme is traditionally heavily weighted towards the home team.

Olympics champion Joseph Schooling got back to winning ways on the final evening of swimming at the aquatics centre at the main Games hub in New Clark City, with his Singaporean team cruising to victory in the 4x100m medley relay.

Butterfly star Schooling has vowed to “fix” his physique after winning only one individual gold medal at the SEA Games, less than eight months before his title defence at Tokyo 2020.

His compatriot Quah Zheng Wen added another two golds – the 200m butterfly and the medley relay – to take his overall tally to six, having already won the 100m and 200m backstroke, and the 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle relays.

Speedsters Jonathan Tan Eu Jin and Teong Tzen Wei, also from Singapore, secured a one-two in the men’s 50m freestyle – the fastest event in the pool.

Quah Ting Wen and Quah Jing Wen also completed a double for the city-state in the 100m butterfly.