Two-time world champion Carlos Yulo and Fil-American Aleah Finnegan anchored the Philippine gymnastics team to become the most bemedalled Philippine squad at the 31st Southeast Asian Games which drew to a close Monday in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Yulo reaped five gold medals while Finnegan clinched two for gymnastics’ seven-gold harvest at the biennial meet – eclipsing their three-gold haul in the 2019 edition that the country hosted.
The team also collected four silver and three bronze medals, falling just second behind Vietnam, which snared seven golds, seven silvers and eight bronze medals.
The 21-year-old Yulo showed world-class performances to rule the individual all-around, floor exercise, rings, vault and horizontal bar, while Finnegan steered the women’s crew to a team all-around gold apart from topping the vault.
Yulo also became the most bemedalled Filipino athlete at the Games after also clinching two silver medals in men’s team event and parallel bars.
Athletics came in second behind gymnastics with five gold, seven silver and 14 bronze medals followed by dancesport with five golds, five silvers and two bronzes.
Dancesport banked on the pair of Ana Leonila Manalo Nualla and Sean Mischa Aranar, who nailed three golds in the single dance tango, Viennese waltz and all five dances.
Billiards’ sweep of the 9-ball and 10-ball events gave the team four golds apart from four silver and two bronze medals.
Rubilen Amit won two gold medals in women’s 9-ball and 10-ball events, while the other two golds came from Johann Chua in men’s 9-ball and Carlo Biado in men’s 10-ball.
Though it was below their previous feat of seven golds, all nine members of the boxing team went home with a medal and finished with three golds, two silvers and five bronzes.
The three gold medalists were Tokyo Olympian Eumir Marcial, Rogen Ladon and Ian Clark Bautista.
Like Marcial, some Tokyo Olympians lived up to their billing by dominating their events while others just fell short of a top podium finish.
Among those who delivered golds were Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz in weightlifting, EJ Obiena in athletics’ pole vault and Kurt Barbosa in taekwondo.
Diaz’s teammate Elreen Ando settled for the silver in the women’s 64kg, Irish Magno also took home silver in the 51kg, and rower Cris Nievarez bagged the bronze in the lightweight single sculls.
Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Nesthy Petecio, meanwhile, managed a bronze after a controversial semifinal loss to a hometown bet.
The only Tokyo Olympian who did not bring home a medal was shooter Jayson Valdez.