Margarita “Meggie” Ochoa secured the second gold medal for the Philippines at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China. Following the triumph of the country’s first gold medal, won by a world-class pole vaulter over the weekend, Ochoa etched her name in history by outclassing her rivals in the women’s -48 kg jiu-jitsu category.
Ochoa’s gold-clinching performance took place on Thursday, October 5, at the Xiaoshan Gymnasium, where she faced the formidable Balqees Abdulla of the United Arab Emirates in a thrilling title showdown.
Throughout the bout, the 33-year-old Ochoa maintained her dominance, effectively thwarting Abdulla’s attempts to execute a triangle choke. Her journey to the finals was marked by an unblemished record, as she secured victories in three earlier matches.
In the semifinals, Ochoa displayed her prowess by defeating Pechrada Kacie Tan of Thailand with a score of 4-2. Before that, she clinched a remarkable submission victory over Nazgul Rakhayeva of Kazakhstan in the quarterfinals. Ochoa initiated her Asian Games campaign with a similar submission win against Odgerel Batbayar of Mongolia in the Round of 16.
For Ochoa, the gold medal marked a significant redemption, as she had previously secured a bronze medal in the 2018 Asian Games held in Palembang, Indonesia.
As tears welled up in her eyes, Ochoa shared her journey’s challenges in an interview with One Sports. She revealed that she had battled the flu in the past three days, making her victory all the more extraordinary.
“It was very overwhelming because so many things happened. I thought I couldn’t do it anymore, and then today, I took a lot of medicines just to fight. I also injured my hip in the semifinals, and it hurt. But I said I’ll give it my all, even if I can’t walk anymore, as long as I give it my all,” Ochoa said.
Ochoa also shared that many of her teammates had fallen ill or sustained injuries during the competition.
In another jiu-jitsu event, Davao City’s Marc Alexander Lim represented the Philippines with determination, despite grappling with injuries. Lim faced Mansur Khabibulla of Kazakhstan in the men’s -62kg semifinal, where he unfortunately absorbed a 2-6 defeat.
Lim revealed that he had to cut his training short due to injuries, including a ruptured extensor tendon in his hand, a torn sagittal band, and an incomplete fracture in his second digit. Despite these setbacks, Lim exhibited remarkable courage, securing victories in earlier rounds.
He triumphed over Syafiq Bin Shah Eran Amirul of Singapore (3-2) in the Round of 32. In the Round of 16, he bested Mohammed Ajaj of Palestine with a score of 2-0. Although he faced a quarterfinal defeat to Abdulmalik Mohammad Almurdhi, Lim bounced back with a 3-0 victory in Repechage, earning a spot in the bronze match against Khabibulla.