Iniong, Saclag close SEA Games campaign on high note

GINA Iniong and Jean Claude Saclag closed their campaign in the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games winning gold medal in kickboxing Tuesday evening, December 10, at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.

Iniong and Saclag overpowered their rivals to join Jerry Olsim as gold medal winners in the discipline that made its maiden stint in the games.

Iniong clobbered Thailand’s Apichaya Mingkhwan, 3-0, to rule the women’s -55 kg kick light division, while Saclag pounced on Mohammed Mahmoud of Malaysia, 3-0, in the men’s 63.5-kg full contact.

“Our game plan was really to get inside because she’s a taekwondo player. I timed my attacks well,” said Iniong, a wushu and mixed martial arts champion.

“I didn’t expect to win easily because I could sense he was not being hurt. But when I saw that fatigue was affecting him, I went for the kill,” said Saclag.

Olsim gave the Philippines its first gold in the discipline on Monday in the men’s -69 kg kick light division.

Iniong, together with Saclag and Olsim, are members of the famed Team Lakay with head coach Mark Sangiao tapped as striking coach for the Philippine Kickboxing team.

“I have always believed in the Team Lakay system and the high-altitude training that’s why I didn’t hesitate to tap coach mark to handle our training camp considering the talents of our fighters, I knew they would deliver,” said Randy Caluag, Philippine Kickboxing coach.

The Filipinos also claimed two silvers courtesy of Jomar Balangui and Renalyn Dacquel, and one bronze from Karol Maguide.

The twin gold medal by Olsim and Iniong is the 33rd medal produced by Cordilleran athletes who saw action in the biennial meet which closed Wednesday evening at the New Clark City Athletics Stadium in Capas, Tarlac where the Philippines bagged the over-all title after winning 149 golds, 116 silvers and 118 bronzes, surpassing the 112 gold, 85 silver and 92 bronze medals it won in the 2005 Manila meet.

Cordillerans brought home 17 gold medals, 11 silvers and seven bronze.

Under Republic Act 10699, the winners of SEA Games stand to receive P300,000 for gold, P1500,000 for silver and P60,000 for bronze.

The Philippine Olympic Committee earlier said it will give similar amount to the gold, silver and bronze medalists of the SEA Games.

Winning athletes will also have a courtesy call on December 18 when they meet President Rodrigo Duterte face to face in Malacanang during the incentives awarding.

The President is expected to give out additional incentives of P250,000 for gold, P150,000 for silver and P100,000 for bronze medalists.

Philippine Sports Commission Chairman and Team Philippines’ Chef de Mission, Butch Ramirez is all smiles as he broke the news yesterday, following a courtesy call by the Philippine surfing team at the PSC office in Manila.

“We were all hoping and praying for this, but it is still a sweet surprise now that it is actually happening. I am so proud of our athletes. All of them deserve our respect and love,” said Ramirez who stood as the father-figure for the delegation from preparation to competition.


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