Masuda, Ramirez win golds in Phuket Asian Beach Games, PH first gold medals

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A day after legendary judoka John Baylon brought his act to jiu-jitsu and pocketed a bronze medal, Philippine grapplers Maybelline Masuda and Annie Ramirez delivered a sterling performance Wednesday night as they toppled their opponents en route to winning Philippines’ first gold medals in the 4th Asian Beach Games, and first ever gold medals in the history of Philippines’ participation in Asian Beach Games since it’s 1st edition in Bali, Indonesia in 2010.

Masuda, a six-time champion in the open category of the Pan Asian International Jiu-Jitsu Championships, overcame Vietnam’s Le Thu Trang Dao in a very close fight, 15.0 – 0, to clinch the gold of the Jujitsu Women’s -50kg event.

The 25-year-old Filipino-Japanese, who captured the gold in the 2009 World Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championships in California, trounced Tatchapan Srisamer of Thailand, 18-8, in the semifinal round, and blew past Vietnam’s Anh Thu Ha in the preliminaries.

Ramirez, 23, controlled the ground with authority in toppling Thailand’ Onanong Saengsirichok, 99-0, for the Women’s -60k gold medal, before a crowd of frustrated hometown fans on Patong Beach.

Ramirez, a former judoka whose last stint with the national team was in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games, overcame the challenge of Turkmenistan’s Rushana Nurjanova, 12-0, in the semifinal round.

A nine-time SEA Games gold winner, Baylon submitted Thai Sooknatae Suntra with an armlock to reach the podium in the men’s 80 kg class.

“I would have been in the finals if not for a mistake I made in the semifinals,” said the 50-year-old Baylon, who took a 1-0 loss to Mohammad Mansooridavar after besting Saoud Alhammadi of United Arab Emirates.

“There’s more room for improvement,” said Baylon, the Air Force sergeant who founded his own judo and jiu-jitsu gym after retiring in 2012. “We can be good at this.”

Philippine Olympic Committee first vice president Joey Romasanta, Philippine Sports Commission chair Richie Garcia, POC executive board member Jonne Go and Gomez earlier led the raising of the national flag at Saphan Hin where the opening rites for the 45 participating countries will be held.

“Aside from jiu-jitsu, we’re also counting on other sports to deliver more medals,” said Romasanta.

In beach-flag football, the Philippine Eagles broke a winless spell by routing India, 52-14, at Saphan Hin. Already out of the medal round, the Eagles lost their matches against China, Japan, Kuwait and Thailand.

In squash, Philippines’ Reymark Begornia and David William Pelino lost their first round games in the Men’s Singles squash event.

Reymark Begornia bowed down to Hong Kong’s Chi Him Wong in 2 sets (7-1 7-5); while David William Pelino also lost in 2 sets against India’s Kush Kumar (7-5 7-2).

That ends our campaign in Squash as we don’t have any entries in the Women’s Division, and only Singles events are being played.

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