DAYS before the 29th Summer Universiade commenced in New Taipei City, the Philippines’ Head of Delegation Alvin Tai Lian revealed to a number of sportswriters from the national dailies of the country’s chances to strike a medal in the so-called “Olympics at the University level” competitions.
Here’s what the youthful-looking, businessman-cum-sportsman and philanthropist Tai Lian, the Chair of the privately-funded Federation of School Sports Association of the Philippines that sanctioned the Filipino athletes’ participation in the Taipei Universiade, said: “I expect our athletes to do well in golf, billiards and wushu. With a bit of luck, we may even strike a medal in wushu.”
Tai Lian knows whereof he speaks, he being a wushu practitioner during his prime.
It turned out that he was a good forecaster, too. How prophetic Tai Lian was as the Philippines, indeed, secured a medal in the wushu competitions, courtesy of the University of Baguio’s Jomar Balangui.
During the semifinals of the men’s sanda-52-kilogram event at the Hsinchu County gym on August 28, the 19-year-old Balangui whitewashed 18-year-old South Plains College (Lubbock, Texas) bet Isiah Ray Enriquez of the United States, winning 5-0 and 3-0 for a 2-0 decision that assured him of the silver medal.
The finals were held on the last day of competitions on Aug. 29 as Balangui and China’s Yuan Peng disputed the gold.
The odds were stacked against Balangui as wushu, a martial arts sport, is of Chinese origin.
Balangui played his heart out but eventually succumbed to a two-set (5-0 and 5-0) defeat against Yuan.
Regardless, FESSAP president David Ong was elated over Balangui’s podium finish.
“The wushu medal – (a silver) – is a good addition to our gold medal in men’s chess by Grandmaster Wesley So during the 2013 Kazan Universiade and the silver medal won by Samuel Thomas Harper Morrison in men’s taekwondo in the 2011 Shenzhen Universiade. really makes us proud to be a Filipino watching our flag being hoisted during the awarding ceremony along with China (gold), South Korea (bronze) and the United States (bronze),” Ong said.
For his medal-winning feat, Balangui was picked to lead the Philippine delegation during the closing ceremonies of the Taipei Universiade on August 30.
Supported by San Miguel Corporation and Bestank Corporation, the Philippine delegation to the Taipei Universiade was headed by Tai Lian, Angel Ngu (flagbearer), retired Colonel Ariel Querubin (delegation general manager), Danilo Madlansacay (Delegation Official) and professor Robert Milton Calo (Preparation and Monitoring Committee chair) and our most thankful to the National Secretariat composed of Cecil Sarmiento, Annie Rodas, Antonio Quiza, Elena Go, Joana Monteverde, Fides Mariae Lim, Ann Janeth Garcia, Kert Bryan Ocampo, JC Clarito, Genie Villota, Kelly Rojas, Joseph Sy, Gladys Sia, and Eloisa Guillermo.