In a thrilling showdown on Thursday, Sanda fighter Arnel Mandal of the Philippines faced off against a formidable opponent, ultimately clinching the country’s first silver medal at the 19th Asian Games.
The 27-year-old Mandal launched a relentless barrage of punches in a valiant effort to secure a knockout victory over China’s Jiang Haidong. However, Mandal struggled to find his target throughout their intense two-round battle.
Ultimately, Jiang emerged victorious, securing the gold medal with a 2-0 victory in the men’s 56kg category, held at the Xiaoshan Guali Sports Centre.
Mandal, on his loss, said: “Ginawa ko ang lahat ng aking makakaya pero hindi ako pinalad (I did everything I can but I had no luck).” He was the 2015 World Sanda Championship men’s 52kg champion.
However, there is no reason for disappointment. Mandal’s second-place finish marks a historic achievement for Team Philippines, distinguishing itself with the first silver medal, in addition to the five bronze medals secured in various categories.
Another notable performance came from Gideon Padua, who earned a bronze medal in the men’s 60kg category. Padua’s journey, unfortunately, took an unexpected turn when Filipino wushu officials decided not to field him in the semifinals on Wednesday night due to a broken nose bridge.
Padua sustained the injury during an impressive quarterfinal victory over Turkmenistan’s Agajumageldi Yazymov on Tuesday night.
Explaining the decision, Wushu Federation of the Philippines President Freddie Jalasco said, “Ayaw namin i-risk pa si Gideon. Bronze na ‘yan at mataas ang probability na matamaan ang injury nya sa mga kasunod na laban (We don’t want to risk Gideon anymore. That’s bronze and there’s a high probability that he’ll get injured in the next match).”
Adding to the bronze medal tally was Clemente Tabugara Jr., who secured his place on the podium by defeating Kazakhstan’s Abdusamat Ashirov in the men’s 65kg quarterfinals. However, his journey was halted by Indonesia’s Samuel Marbun in a subsequent match.
The Philippine wushu team concluded its campaign with one silver and three bronze medals, highlighting the remarkable achievement of taolu specialist Jones Inso, who performed exceptionally in the men’s taijiquan-taijiquan all-round event.