TAIPEI—Jomar Balangui did his best, but still dropped a heart-breaking, two-set decision to Peng Yuan of China to settle for the silver medal in the men’s sanda-52 kg wushu event in wushu in the 29th Summer Universiade.
The 19-year-old campaigner from University of Baguio, who was hoping to give the country its second Universiade gold medal in four years, put up a brave stand during an evening encounter watched with bated breath by fellow Filipino athletes who stayed behind after 12 full days of competition.
In the end, even Balangui succumbed to an older opponent, who comes from the country where the martial arts sports of wushu originated.
“I did my best,” said Balangui, who assured himself—and the country—of a silver medal by eliminating isiah Ray Enriquez of the United States, 2-0, in the semis Monday.
So the Filipinos, whose fourth straight Universiade appearance is sanctioned by the Federation of School Sports Association of the Philippines and supported by San Miguel Corp., Bestank and Garfield Sportswear, will go home Thursday with another medal and lots of good stories to tell about their valuable new experience.
For Balangui, it’s a silver medal that glitters like gold as he becomes only the third Filipino to earn a coveted medal in the 58-year history of the competition also known as the ‘Olympics’ of student-athletes.
Balangui joins GM Wesley So, who bagged the gold medal in chess during the 2013 Kazan Universiade and Samuel Thomas Morrison, who captured a silver in taekwondo during the 2011 Shenzhen Universiade, as the top Filipino achievers in this biennial event organized by the Federation Iinternatonale du Sport Universitaire.
FESSAP president David Ong congratulated Balangui and the rest of the 130-strong Filipino delegation in 13 sports for “bringing honor to the country during the Taipei Universiade.”
“It really makes us proud to be a Filipino watching our flag being hoisted during the award ceremony along with China, Korea and the US,” said Ong.
Ong said Balangui will now lead the Filipino athletes during the closing ceremony scheduled late Wednesday at the Taipei Stadium.