Filipino wrestler Ronil Tubog showcased his dominance in the men’s freestyle -61kg event, claiming the gold medal at the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games held at the Chroy Changvar Convention Center. Tubog, 30, had previously settled for silver in the past two SEA Games, making this victory even more special.
In a highly competitive division that included wrestlers from Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Singapore, Tubog showcased his skills and determination. He emerged victorious in the group stage, defeating Eddy Khidzer of Singapore with a score of 4-0 and Siripong Jumpakam of Thailand with a score of 3-1.
In the semifinals, Tubog faced off against Cambodia’s Soeun Sophors and dominated the match with a score of 4-0, securing his spot in the gold medal bout. In the finals, Tubog faced Indonesia’s Zainal Abidin, where he showcased his technique and skill to secure a 3-1 victory and claim the coveted gold medal.
This victory not only marked Tubog’s first SEA Games gold but also contributed to the Wrestling Association of the Philippines’ success, which collected four gold medals in the wrestling competition. Jason Balabal, Tina Vergara, and Alvin Lobreguito also secured gold medals in their respective events.
The Philippines’ gold medal count at the SEA Games reached 55 with Tubog’s triumph, further solidifying the country’s position as a force to be reckoned with in the wrestling arena.
In another remarkable feat, Filipino wrestler Alvin Lobreguito secured the country’s 52nd gold medal at the 32nd SEA Games by dominating the men’s freestyle 57kg category. Lobreguito showcased his skills and determination, outlasting competitors from Vietnam and Thailand, who secured the silver and bronze medals. This victory marked Lobreguito’s first gold medal in the SEA Games after earning a silver in the 2019 edition of the tournament.
The success continued for the Wrestling Association of the Philippines as Cristina Villanueva Vergara, a 44-year-old retired Philippine Navy enlisted personnel, and her daughter Cathlyn Gee brought home medals. Vergara displayed her mastery in the women’s freestyle 65kg category, winning the gold medal with a technical superiority of 12-2 against Cambodia’s Sambat Vannak. Vergara, a previous gold medalist in the 2003 Vietnam and 2005 Manila SEA Games showcased her enduring skills and resilience.
Vergara’s daughter, Cathlyn Gee, couldn’t replicate her mother’s gold medal performance but secured a bronze medal in the women’s freestyle 59kg event, making the wrestling duo’s achievement even more special. Vergara expressed pride in her daughter’s accomplishments and encouraged her to continue training hard and aim for the Olympics.
The Wrestling Association of the Philippines celebrated their second gold medal after Jason Balabal’s victory in the men’s 87kg Greco-Roman event. Alvin Aguilar, the president of the Wrestling Association of the Philippines, expressed his joy and satisfaction with the team’s performance, highlighting the significant improvement compared to the previous SEA Games.
With a total of four gold medals, seven silvers, and five bronzes, the Filipino wrestlers showcased their prowess and resilience, contributing to the country’s success in the 32nd SEA Games. Their remarkable achievements will undoubtedly inspire future generations of wrestlers and elevate the sport in the Philippines to new heights.