By REY C. LACHICA
Thailand won the bragging rights as the first country in the Southeast Asian region to win a gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics.
While other ASEAN countries – the Philippines included – rued their missed opportunities and misfortunes, Thailand rejoiced after taekwondo jin Panipak Wongpattanakit took the gold in women’s 49kg on Saturday.
A bronze medal winner during the 2016 Rio Games, Wongpattanakit beat out Spanish teenager Adriana Cerezo Iglesia for the gold.
Indonesia also made it to the medal tally in the pandemic-delayed Games when Windy Cantika Aisah took the bronze in women’s weightlifting (49 kg class).
Boxer Nesthy Petecio provided the bright note for the Philippine side when she pummeled her taller rival from Congo, 5-0, and advanced to the Round of 16 of the 54-57kg category.
Her victory, somehow, eased the pain of taekwondo jin Kurt Bryan Barbosa’s crushing defeat to a Korean rival.
Two bad news then emerged late in the day — to some – it was like thunderbolt.
First was the failure of swimmer Remedy Rule to advance to the semis round of the 100m butterfly.
Only the Top 16 are qualified for the next round led by Yufei Zhang of China, Emma McKeon of Australia, and Sarah Sjoestroem of Sweden.
Then came the shocker.
Gymnast Carlos Yulo – one of the favorites to win the gold in floor exercise – bombed out.
He finished a disappointing 44th – no thanks to two poor landings in the early part of his routine.
But Yulo’s medal quest is far from over.
He earned one of the eight spots in the vault finals after scoring 14.712 for sixth place behind Korea’s Shin Jeahwan (14.866).
He scored 14.766 on his first vault and 14.658 in the second for 14.712 total. (with a report from Kristel Satumbaga)