Cool bronze feat from rider Coo

Abac Cordero - The Philippine Star
Cool bronze feat from rider Coo
Patrick Coo (right) celebrates with teammate Daniel Caluag.

HANGZHOU — With less fanfare, Patrick Coo secured a bronze medal in men’s BMX racing Sunday, and kept Team Philippines moving forward with only seven days of competition left at the 19th Asian Games .

Coo was lacking in support from the Philippine delegation when he competed at the Chun’an Jieshou Sports Centre cycling course, which is roughly 155 kms away from the epicenter here.

But the 21-year-old BMX rider, born and raised in California, had plenty of fighting spirit in winning the bronze, the seventh for Team Philippines counting those from poomsae, wushu and tennis.

The Philippine delegation also has a silver under its name, courtesy of wushu artist Arnel Mandal, and a gold, courtesy of new Asian Games record holder EJ Obiena in men’s pole vault.

Coo had to bleed for his first Asian Games medal.

“I’m very happy but hurting for sure,” said Coo, who suffered a nasty bruise on his right thigh after crashing in the first moto of the bumpy and lung-busting finale contested by a dozen riders.

“I ripped my pants and got it fixed immediately,” he said after the race won by Japan’s Asuma Nakai, 23, and followed by SEA Games champion Komet Sukpraset of Thailand.

Philippine Olympic Committee president and cycling chief Abraham Tolentino said Coo is just getting started, and is likely to be the new face of BMX racing in the country.

“This could kick off more major accomplishments for Patrick. He’s only 21, so young, and he’s been training seriously and diligently the past year or so under the Olympic Solidarity program,” he said.

“It’s a motivation for PhilCycling to achieve more in the international arena,” the POC president, hands-on in dealing with the Pinoy athletes here, added.

Daniel Caluag, who won the BMX gold for the Philippines in Incheon in 2014 and the bronze in Palembang five years ago, was still at it but failed to win any medal.

Now 36, Caluag got some piece of the action early on but wound up in sixth place, a decent finish considering that he’s coming off a rib injury sustained while training in the United States.

“I feel very happy,” said Coo, who arrived here just four days ago, coming off training camp at the UCI World Cycling Center in Aigle, Switzerland.

Coo said he called his parents back in the US to share the good news. And the better news is that after a strict diet during training, it’s time to splurge.

“I haven’t eaten rice for the past three months while I was in Switzerland, so time to gorge in Tagaytay, and a lot of isaw,” said Coo, who stays in Tagaytay when he’s in the Philippines.

Late Sunday evening, pro boxer Eumir Marcial was to seek a spot in the semis and at least a bronze medal versus Thai light-heavyweight (80kg) Weerapon Jongjoho, the reigning champion in the SEA Games who stands close to six feet.

The battle continues

Elsewhere, on this day when the temperature dropped to 22 degrees Celsius, the rest of Team Philippines plodded on but weren’t as fortunate.

Weightlifter John Febuar Ceniza missed out on the bronze in men’s weightlifting with his total of 297kg in the 61kg division. The Cebuano finished fourth just a kilo behind bronze winner Chungguk Kim of North Korea (298kg).

Fabin Li of China took the gold with 310kg (a new Asian Games record) and Pak Myongjin of North Korea the silver in 307kg.

Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo will get up the stage today in the women’s 59kg while fellow Olympian Elreen Ando vies at 64kg. Rosegie Ramos missed the podium last Saturday in the women’s 49kg.

In men’s 3x3, the Philippines met the end of the road in the form a 19-16 loss to South Korea late Saturday evening at the Deqing Geographic Information Park.

The Filipinos trailed early, 7-0, and never recovered like they did in a 15-14 win over Kazakhstan earlier that day.

The team that includes John Ray Pasaol, JB Sajonia, Bismarck Lina and Justin Sanchez, and coached by Lester del Rosario and Patrick Fran, are now heading home.

And with finality, the Philippines relinquished supremacy in women’s golf after Rianne Malixi wound up in 11th place following a final-round 71 at the West Lake International course.

Malixi finished with a 282 total while teammate Lois Kaye Go cheered her on after failing to make the cut. The two golfers had no one else to turn to after Princess Superal begged off at the last minute for the three-to-play, two-to-count tournament here. They were never in contention in team play.

In the end, the Pinay golfers completely missed the target. In 2018 in Indonesia, Yuka Saso won the gold and Bianca Pagdanganan the bronze in individual play while carrying the squad that included Go to the team gold.

Saso is no longer around to represent the Philippines after choosing Japanese nationality upon turning 23 earlier this year.

Thailand’s Arpichaya Yubol won the gold with a 269 total and followed by Aditi Ashok of India and Korean Hyunjo Yoo claimed the bronze with a 272.

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