Padios wins first Philippine gold in 31st SEA Games in pencak silat

MARY Francine Padios wins the Philippines’ first gold medal in the 31st Southeast Asian Games by ruling on Wednesday pencak silat’s women’s seni (artistic or form) tunggal single. —PHILIPPINE STAR/ RUSSEL PALMA

HANOI — Mary Francine Padios won the Philippines’ first gold medal in the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games by ruling on Wednesday pencak silat’s women’s seni (artistic or form) tunggal single at the Bac Tu Lien Gymnasium.

Ms. Padios thus put the Philippines on the medals table Vietnam started to dominate on Wednesday, a day before this side of Asia celebrates its biennial multi-sport festival — proof that sports, and mankind for that matter, has started to champion its way over and above the pandemic that for more than two years stunted the entire world.

Ms. Padios, only 18, is now a guaranteed pride of her native Kalibo in Aklan. She improved on the silver she won in the Philippines 2019 edition, a feat she said inspired her to fulfill because of her dad Jerome’s misfortune just before Christmas.

“My dad has become my inspiration after he figured in a terrible car accident on her way home in Aklan just before Christmas,” said Ms. Padios, whose dad has fallen into a coma since. “He was so exhausted and drowsy from work he slept before the wheel and met the accident.”

“He’s been movitating me ever since,” said Ms. Padios, whose 9.960 score bested favorite Arum Sari of Indonesia who settled for silver with 9.945.

Ms. Padios’s gold medal kept the Philippine campaign rolling in these Games where she’s the reigning champion.

Helen Aclopen accounted for a silver medal in women’s — 48 kgs of kurash, which also produced bronze medals from Charlie Quelino and George Baclagan.

Vietnam is living up to expectations on its goal to snatch the overall title from the Philippines and has amassed a front-running haul of six gold, five silver and six bronze medals as of 3 p.m. (Hanoi time) on Wednesday.

Malaysia stayed in stride with its six-gold output but had less silver and bronze with one and four, respectively, followed by Indonesia (3-4-0 gold-silver-bronze), Singapore (1-3-3). and Thailand (1-2-3).

No other country in the 11-member SEA Games has won a gold so far.

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