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    Vargas vows more support for women athletes after Asiad gold binge

    Sep 1, 2018
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    JAKARTA – Boxer Rogen Ladon provided the final medal for the Philippines in the 18th Asian Games, capping the country's 19th- place finish in the quadrennial showpiece that will come to a close on Sunday.

    Ladon settled for the silver medal on Saturday after losing to Uzbekistan’s Jasurpek Lastipov in a flyweight finals that was stopped by the referee with 22 seconds left in the second round due to a nasty cut above the Filipino's left eye.

    With only the mixed triathlon race in Palembang left on Sunday, the Philippines amassed four gold, two silver, and 15 bronze medals for its best finish in this showpiece since the 2006 Games in Doha.

    After 17 days of competition, the 227-athlete delegation also improved on the 1-3-11 gold-silver-bronze haul in the 2014 Incheon Asian Games.

    “Ang atleta talaga ang magdadala, kaya the athlete needs all the support. They get the blame, they get the reward, but our role is to really support the athletes. They are the most important part of the equation,” said Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Ricky Vargas.

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    All of the Philippines’ gold medalists in the games are women, with the youngest at 17 years old — golfer Yuka Saso. She was joined by fellow golfers Bianca Pagdanganan, 21, and Kaye Lois Go, 19, and skateboarder Margielyn Didal, 19.

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    “The women in sports are really giving us so much pride. So we should really look at parity and bring in more (of them) in sports. They have proven that they can win,” Vargas said.

    From 22nd place in the 2014 Asiad, the Philippines improved by three notches but still ranked behind Southeast Asian Games rivals Thailand (12th, 11 golds, 14 silvers, 46 bronzes), Malaysia (14th, 6-12-15) and Vietnam (17th, 4-16-18).

    The boxing federation that Vargas heads contributed a silver and two bronze medals.

    “From the sport that I lead, I’m frustrated not by how the boxers performed, but how the results were judged,” Vargas said. “When boxing presidents and athletes come to your dugout saying that you won, it gives you a sense that injustice has been done."

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    In other results, the men’s canoe double 200m team of Hermie Macaranas and Ojay Fuentes finished fifth in Palembang whileJohn Chicano placed 10th and Nikko Huelgas took 16th in the men’s triathlon.

    The Philippine women’s volleyball team lost to Indonesia, 25-17, 23-25, 25-19, 25-20, to settle for eighth place while the men’s soft tennis team bowed out at the quarterfinal stage.

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    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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