Pinoy jins Levita Ronna Ilao and Samuel Thomas Morrison win Asian Games bronze

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Pinoy jins Levita Ronna Ilao and Samuel Thomas Harper Morrison started Philippine Taekwondo’s Asiad campaign with a bang as they grabbed a bronze medal each at the 17th Asian Games (2014) in Ganghwa Dolmens Gymnasium, Incheon, Korea.

Levita Ronna Ilao claimed Philippine Taekwondo’s first Asiad medal as she beat Timor Leste’s Luisa dos Santos Rosa in the quarterfinal round, to advance to the semifinals and assured herself of a bronze medal in the women’s -49kg category.

In the semifinal round, China’s Zhaoyi Li proved stronger than Ilao, beating the pinay jin, 5-1; thus Ilao settled for bronze.

Samuel Morrison on the other hand was on a roll before falling to Masoud Hajizavareh of Iran, 5-1, in a referee-stopped-contest during the semifinal round of the men’s 74kg, resulting in the country’s second bronze medal in taekwondo.

Despite settling for bronze, Morrison’s performance this year surpassed his quarterfinal finish in the Asiad four years ago in Guangzhou.

Morrison beat Wong Soi Chun of Macau, 17-0, before winning a close match against Yerzhan Abylkas of Kazakhstan, 10-9, in the round of 16.

He once again was the superior jin in the 19-6 win over Akbar Aitakhunov of Kyrgyzstan in the quarterfinal round.

Pinoy compatriot Kristopher Uy only made it up to the quarterfinals of the men’s 87kg class where he lost to Chen Linglong of China, 5-3; while Nicole Abigail Cham lost to Thailand’s Sarita Phongsire in the women’s -53 kg round of 16.

In tomorrow’s action, Youth Olympic Games gold medalist Pauline Louise Lopez will have a tough opening bout against China’s Yun Wang in the round of 16 of the women’s -57kg.; while Christian Al Dela Cruz takes on Qatar’s Mahmoud Hamdy Abdelrahim of Qatar in the round of 16 of the men’s -80kg.

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More on Asian Games 2014 Bronze Medalist, Levita Ronna Ilao

Playing in her first Asian Games has left Ronna Ilao all wide-eyed at the experience.

“I’ve been in the national team for only six months and this is my biggest tournament so far,” said the 21-year-old Lyceum student. “It’s very exciting for me.”

Ilao has made an impression on the Games, too.

The fearless flyweight contributed to the country’s medal haul by beating Luisa dos Santos Rosa of Timor Leste, 6-1, in the taekwondo quarterfinals before yielding to Li Zhaoyi, 1-5, of China in the semifinals to settle for the bronze.

Ilao opened up by beating Southeast Asian rival Thi Huong Giang Doan of Vietnam, using a scoring flurry in the second round to hammer out a 3-1 victory.

She engaged Li in a tense battle in the semifinal but got the raw end of a fierce exchange at the edge of the mat that gave the Chinese a 4-1 lead in the second round.

But the achievement seems to be only a bonus for Ilao, who is enjoying her every minute in the Athletes’ Village.

“I didn’t expect everything to be this huge,” she said with a smile. “It’s so overwhelming to be in the presence of so many athletes.”

But the thing she enjoys most? Going around in her Philippine jacket.

“It makes me really proud to represent our country,” said Ilao.

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