Philippines Boxing, Goldless in 17th Asian Games

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The Philippines failed to win a gold medal in boxing for the first time since 2002 after lightweight Charly Suarez lost a split decision to Otgondalai Dorjnyambu of Mongolia Friday in the 2014 Asian Games.

It was the closest the Filipinos got to winning the precious gold as fighters in taekwondo and karate could only go as far as the semifinals.

With only karateka Gay Mabel Arevalo seeing action in the final day of the Games Saturday, the Philippines is bound to come home with one gold, three silvers and 11 bronzes, its worst performance in 24 years.

The Filipinos also won one gold during the 1990 Beijing Games, one silver courtesy of an all-pro basketball team, coached by Robert Jaworski, and three bronzes.

The boxing squad, which accounts for seven of the 17 golds won by the Philippines since 1994, sent four boxers into the semifinals, but only Suarez survived to make the finals.

Light-flyweight Mark Anthony Barriga lost what appeared to be a hometown decision to Korean Shin Jonghun who went on to win the gold Friday.

Suarez did not back down from torrid exchange with the Mongolian who suffered a cut above his left eye.

In a bout too close to call, two judges gave Dorjnyambu the first two rounds while the third judge saw it for Suarez.

Suarez finished strongly to win the last round which was interrupted twice to let the doctor check Dorjnyambu’s cut.

The 26-year-old veteran did not dispute the decision.

“Hindi talaga para sa akin, sir,” said Suarez. “Siguro talo talaga ako. Wala na akong excuses. Siguro may ibang plano sa akin si Lord.”

However, boxing association president Ricky Vargas, who watched bout at ringside, thought Suarez won the closely-fought bout.

“It was not only me, but also the people seated beside me. This is the worst officiated tournament I have attended,” said Vargas who nevertheless cited the team’s one-silver and four-bronze performance.

Vargas said they will move on and will continue to pursue their goals.

The Philippines settled for the silver and added a bronze each in taekwondo and karate.

Kirstie Elaine Alora, one of three taekwondo jins who saw action Friday, rallied in the third round, but lost to Cambodian Sorn Seavmey, 6-5, in the women’s -73-kg, semifinals.

Seavmey took a 6-1 lead after two rounds, but Alora scored the bout’s last four points.

It was taekwondo’s fifth bronze medal.

Japoy Lizardo’s bid to improve on his bronze medal finish in Guangzhou, China ended in a close 14-12 defeat at the hands of Ghazanfar Ali of Pakistan in the men’s -54-kg Round of 16.

Lizardo, who won his first bout against Thipphakone Kuangmany of Laos, was up, 10-8, after two rounds, but faded toward the end of the lively semifinal bout.

Francis Aaron Agojo, competing in the men’s -58-kg class, bowed out in the quarterfinals against Yuma Yamada, 18-16.

In karate, Mae Soriano lost to Sabina Zakharova of Kazakhstan, 6-1, in the women’s -55-kg semifinals to settle for the bronze.

Soriano earlier subdued Ma Man Sum of Hong Kong, 4-2, and Wong Sok of Macau, 11-3.

In the women’s -61-kg repechage bout, Princess Diane Sicangco was beaten by Bui Thi Ngoc Han of Vietnam, 6-1.

Earlier, Sicangco took a 3-1 loss to Jerry Krisnan of Malaysia.

Ramon Antonino Franco was ousted by Sun Jingchao of China, 2-0, in the men’s -55-kg quarterfinals after rourting Muhammad Kashif of Pakistan, 9-1; while Joanna Mae Ylanan bowed down in the first round of women’s -68kg against Chinese Taipei’s Jou Chao.

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