Hanoi—Carlos Yulo captured two more golds from gymnastics to lead the charge of a Philippine contingent jostling for second place with Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia in the 31st Southeast Asian Games here on Sunday.
The reigning world vault champion Yulo returned to the Quan Ngua Sports Palace, site of his all-around gold last Friday, as he topped the floor exercise, the event where he emerged as world
champion in 2019 and followed up his electrifying show by scoring an impressive triumph in the rings.
Sparked by Yulo’s twin golds, the Philippines hauled a total of eight mints to raise its total to 20 to hover from 2nd to 5th as results trickled into the standings, with Vietnam safely entrenched at the top with 64 golds. Thailand has 21 as of 9 p.m. (Philippine time).
“I’m very happy, I didn’t expect to win. But I’m proud of my performance,” said Yulo, who scored 15.200 in the floor exercise and 14.400 in the rings.
But the Tokyo Olympian isn’t finished yet. He returns to action on Monday to shoot for three more golds in the vault, where he is the current world champion, the high bar and parallel bar.
Gymnastics has proven to be a gold mine as Fil-American Aleah Finnegan added the women’s vault gold to Team Philippines’ harvest, bagging her second gold after leading the women’s squad to the team title last Saturday. She also had a silver in the women’s all-around.
Finnegan, a 19-year-old Missouri native, who was a member of the US national team that emerged triumphant in the Pan American Games in 2019, scored 13.133 in the vault, to foil the golden bid of hometown bet of Nguyen Thi Quynh Nhu, who settled for the silver with 13.033.
She vies in the floor exercise and balance beam on Monday in the last day of artistic gymnastics action, which has so far propped up the Philippine campaign with five golds and two silver medals.
Contributing to the Philippines’ gold medal coffer were Kim Mangrobang, who added the women’s duathlon title to her victory in the triathlon last Saturday; wushu practitioners Agatha Wong and Arnel Mandal; Fil-Am William Morrison in shot put and dancesport (Single Dance, Latin – Cha-Cha).
Less than 24 hours after winning her third straight SEA Games triathlon crown, Mangrobang, 30, became the first Pinoy athlete here to capture back-to-back gold medals, ruling the women’s duathlon at the Tuan Chau Peninsula in 2:13.12.
Wong, who lost her stranglehold in wushu’s taijiquan event last Saturday, bounced back with a big victory in the taijijian event, scoring 9.71 points to frustrate two Vietnamese entries at the Cau Giay Gymnasium.
Later in the day, Arnel Mandal made it a double celebration for the Philippines, winning the team’s second gold by beating Laksmana Pandu Pratama of Indonesia in the finals of the men’s 56kg sanda 2-0 to join Wong, a 19-year-old beauty whose smile can melt hearts, on the podium.
Morrison, 25, back to defend the title he won in 2019 in the Philippines, heaved the heavy metal ball to 18.14 meters, way off his former winning throw of 18.38, but way ahead of the Thai second placer who had a throw of 17.32m and the Malaysian bronze winner who had 17.20m.
While the athletics contingent celebrated the country’s second gold at the My Dinh National Stadium, which came a day after world-class Ernest John Obiena topped the pole vault with a new SEA Games mark of 5.46 meters, there was concern all around as Philippine record holder John Albert Mantua, the country’s second entry in shot put, injured his right leg after his fifth throw.
Mantua was brought out of the field on a stretcher and was taken to a hospital with a suspected severe leg sprain.