Jiu-jitsu fighters, Yulo recipients of PSA Major Award

The Philippine Star
Jiu-jitsu fighters, Yulo recipients of PSA Major Award
Jiu-jitsu fighters Annie Ramirez, Kaila Napolis and Meggie Ochoa show their medal harvest in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.

MANILA, Philippines — Asian Games gold medalists Margarita “Meggie” Ochoa and Annie Ramirez, along with Asian champion Carlos Yulo will be among the recipients of Major Awards in the San Miguel Corporation-Philippine Sportswriters Association (SMC-PSA) Awards Night on Jan. 29.

Ochoa and Ramirez accounted for half of the gold tally of Team Philippines in the 19th edition of the Asiad in Hangzhou, China by topping the women’s 48 kg and -57 kg respectively, as jiu-jitsu scored a double in the continental showpiece.

Not to be outdone, Yulo was a force to reckon with in the Asian Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Singapore after winning all three gold medals for the Philippines in floor exercise, parallel bars, and vault, aside from bagging two gold medals in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia.

Together, they make up the compact 11 individuals to be recognized with a Major Award by the country’s oldest media organization headed by its president Nelson Beltran, sports editor of The Philippine STAR.

Together with Ochoa, Ramirez, and Yulo in the group are pool players Chezka Centeno, Johann Chua and James Aranas, golfer Miguel Tabuena, bowler Zach Sales Ramin, champion horse Big Lagoon, jockey John Alvin Guce, and horse owner Vice Gov. Leonardo “Sandy” Javier.

Set at the grand ballroom of the Diamond Hotel, the traditional Awards Night is presented by the 24/7 sports app in the country ArenaPlus, along with major sponsors Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, PLDT/Smart, MILO, and Cignal. Also backing the gala night are the Philippine Basketball Association, Premier Volleyball League, 1-Pacman Partylist Rep. Mikee Romero, and Rain or Shine.

Centeno will be honored for capturing the WPA World 10-Ball Women’s Championship in Klagenfurt, Austria behind a 9-5 victory over Han Yu of China in the final, while Chua and Aranas did the same in Lugo, Spain when they turned back the German pair of Joshua Filler and Moritz Neuhausen, 11-7, to give the country its fourth World Cup of Pool title.

The 29-year-old Tabuena, a one-time winner of the PSA Athlete of the Year, is recognized for ruling the DGC Open of the 2023 Asian Tour by rallying back from six shots behind to win the crown by a single stroke, and eventually, finished second in the Order of Merit at the end of the season.

For his part, Ramin excelled as the first male Filipino bowler to rule the Singapore International Open, and the youngest winner ever at 17 years old since the inception of the meet in 1965.

In horse racing, Big Lagoon emerged as the Horse of the Year following a historic run that had the six-year-old bay colt becoming only the fifth back-to-back winner of the Philracom-PCSO Presidential Gold Cup at Metro Turf Club in Malvar, Batangas. Guce, the regular rider of Big Lagoon, will be awarded the Jockey of the Year.

Javier meanwhile, will be acknowledged as Horse Owner of the Year for his long-time dedication to the sports racing industry, which also saw his entry Vavavoom ruled the PSA Cup at the Metro Turf.

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