Sixteen year-old archer Luis Gabriel Moreno made history today as he won Philippines’ first ever Youth Olympic gold medal at the 2nd Youth Olympic Games in Fangshan Archery Field, Nanjing, China.
Moreno, who was ranked 30th among 32 male archers at the individual ranking, teamed up perfectly with China’s Li Jiaman, ranked No. 3 in the women’s side, to win the gold in the mixed international team event.
The pair took little time to defeat Muhammad Zoklepeli of Malaysia and Cynthia Freywald of Germany, 6-0 (38-37, 38-35, 37-33) en route to their golden finish.
“I feel very lucky to be paired with her [LI]. She always spoke words of encouragement to me. Though we did have problems communicating at times, our passion for the sport and her friendly nature made everything fall into place and we won the gold”, exclaimed Philippines’ flag bearer.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” he admitted. ““I didn’t expect to win anything in Nanjing. I just gave my best. This medal means everything to me. It was rainy and windy and everything was going against us, but we still did it.”
Li agreed that the wind was “definitely an issue” and revealed that the duo had to be creative to get their message across to each other.
“Sometimes, you can convey more just by your actions,” she said. “We may not get each other’s language, but we high-fived and cheered each other after every turn.
“Without him, I would not have been able to do it. He was an important part of the team.”
Moreno almost missed the quarterfinals after he left the Fangshan Archery Field with his family to have lunch following the morning session, and the taxi he took got lost on the way to Fangshan Archery Field.
He reached the venue just in the nick of time, and without any warm-up, he went on to win their 2nd round, quarterfinals, semifinals and then Philippines first ever Youth Olympic gold medal.
Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose Cojuancgo and Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richie Garcia missed the historic victory as they left for Manila earlier in the day.