Female athletes claimed the spotlight during the 18th Asian Games that were co-hosted by the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palemmbang as the Philippines struck with four gold medals for a 19th place finish.
Rio Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz greased the path toward a fantastic finish for Team PH which wound up with a 4-2-15 tally when the curtains fell.
More women bets came up with glittering performances with Cebu-bred Marge Didal skating her way to a gold and golfer Yuka Saso setting the fairway ablaze in the individual event for another top finish.
Saso’s medal was only the country’s second individual gold in the sport after Ramon Brobio’s brilliant play in the 1986 edition in Seoul.
On the strength of her sterling play, Saso earned another gold by towing the women’s team to another crowning achievement. Joining Saso at the victory podium were Louise Kay Go and Bianca Pagdanganan, who also came up with a bronze in the individual.
The two silvers were brought home by boxer Rogen Ladon and judoka Kiyomi Watanabe while the bronzes came from wushu, boxing, pencak silat, BMX cycling, taekwondo, karate, jiu jitsu.
While the Philippine Olympic Committee had looked forward to a 15th place windup, the four gold medal performance matched the country’s output in 1978 (Bangkok), 1986 (Seoul) and 2006 (Doha).
REPRINTED FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN BY NICK GIONGCO