HANGZHOU, CHINA—Sanda fighter Arnel Mandal assured Team Philippines its first silver medal in the 19th Asian Games by overpowering Kyrgyzstan’s Avazkev Amanbekov, 2-0, in the semifinals of the men’s 56kg on Wednesday night.
The former Filipino world champion scored on a series of takedowns, getting the nod of the judges while gallantly protecting himself from Amanbekov’s vicious kicks.
Mandal, 27, advanced to the gold-medal match against China’s Jiang Haidong, who made short work of Vietnam’s Hua Van Doan, 2-0, in the other semifinal clash at the Xiaoshan Guali Sports Centre.
“Ibibigay ko lahat ang makakaya ko para makuha ang ginto. Medyo mahirap dahil China ang makakaharap ko pero hindi tayo padadaig,’’ said Mandal, the 2015 World Sanda Championships titleholder in the men’s 52kg.
Filipino wushu officials decided not to field Gideon Fred Padua in the semifinals of the men’s 60kg, leaving the latter with a guaranteed bronze medal on the table.
According to Wushu Federation of the Philippines president Freddie Jalasco, they are skeptical on allowing Padua to fight Iran’s Shoja Panahigelehkolaei in the semis.
Padua suffered a broken nose bridge in an impressive quarterfinal win over Turkmenistan’s Agajumageldi Yazymov on Tuesday night.
“We don’t want to risk it. He has to undergo surgery and miss the world championships at the end of the year,’’ said Jalasco.
Clemente Tabugara Jr. didn’t have the same luck as Mandal, dropping his semifinal encounter against Indonesia’s Samuel Marbun, 0-2, in the men’s 65kg bracket.
With Tabugara Jr. assured of a bronze after downing Kazakhstan’s Abdusamat Ashirov in the men’s 65kg, the national wushu team is already staring at one silver and two more bronzes following Jones Inso’s third-place performance in the men’s taijiquan-taijijian all-around.