JAKARTA, Nov. 19 (PNA)–Rookies Divine Wally of Baguio City and Arnel Mandal of Iloilo City, both products of the Philippine National Games, upended their respective opponents on the final day to bring home gold medals from the biennial 13th World Wushu Championships in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Campaigning in the 48kg division Wally, 19, who vastly improved her form of two years past when she netted silver medals in both the 7th Asian Junior Championships and 27th SEA Games a mere year removed from her gold-medal performance in the Philippine National Games, outclassed Vietnamese Luan Thi Hoang.
Surprise package of the lean nine-strong Team Philippines backed by Philippine Sports Commission, Mandal, 20, pulled the rug from under Indian Uchit Sharma. His only claim to fame was a championship in the PNG measly a year ago.
Wally’s and Mandal’s gilts boosted the Team Philippines harvest of 2 golds, two silvers and a bronze—the best ever output since the inception of the World Wushu Championship in 1991.
Drawing first blood was Agatha Khrystenzen Wong of Quezon City with silver medal in the compulsory taijiquan at the heels of her 42 forms taijiquan gold and 42 forms taijijian bronze in the 8th Asian Juniors Wushu Championship 2015.
Last year’s Asian Games bronze medallist and 2015 SEA Games silver medallist Francisco Solis of Iloilo City followed up with a bronze. He succumbed to the reigning Asian Games 65kg champion Chinese Hong Xing Kong.
Team Philippines delegation head Julian Camacho, Wushu Federation Philippines secretary general and Philippine Olympic Committee treasurer said, “The performance of our compact squad was beyond my wildest dream.”
“I never expected that our team rebuilding tack could pay dividends so soon. All our medallists in the previous staging the world championship were not in the team this time as either they have retired or saddled with injury.”
The Philippines was deadlocked with Macao in the 8th-9th places with China topping the medal table with 14 gold medals followed by host Indonesia with seven and Iran six in the field of 76 countries represented by 904 athletes. PHI’s standing eclipsed the 1-2-3 yield in 2013.
The gold-medal production of WFP since the worlds inaugural now stands at 16. Wally’s triumph was a milestone as she installed herself as the first Filipina champion. (PNA)