NANJING – When no one else was looking, taekwondo standout Francis Agojo won the silver medal for the Philippines as the 2nd Asian Youth Games entered its final days here.
The student of Ateneo de Manila dished out his best in beating Malaysian Navin Ari Krisnasamy in the quarterfinals, 11-4, and Kazakhstan’s Yerassyl Kaiyrbek in the semis, 9-8.
Agojo, who will turn 17 in November, advanced to the 53 kg finals against Thailand’s Ramnarong Sawekwiharee but ran out of bullets and lost the match, 11-7.
Still, it was a victorious day for Philippine taekwondo, considering the level of competition in this 45-nation event for the best athletes aged 14-17.
Agojo’s victory came when most of the Filipinos here were scattered in different venues, mostly looking for victories in lawn tennis and 3-on-3 basketball.
Agojo fought his medal match with only his coach, Dax Morfe, and teammate, Pauline Lopez, cheering him on at the Longtian Gym.
Lopez was still scheduled to compete late Thursday in the girls’ 55 kg.
“I tried my best to win the gold for our country but I’m happy and proud of what I achieved here,” said Agojo, winner of the gold medal in last year’s tough Korea Open.
The Filipino athletes, funded by the Philippine Sports Commission, now have one gold and two silver medals in the bag with only two days of action left.
Mia Legaspi and Princess Superal scored a one-two finish in girls’ golf the other day, assuring the Philippines of a better finish than in 2009 in Singapore (one silver and one bronze).
Jurence Mendoza is in the semis of boys’ tennis and is already assured of a bronze. He was scheduled to face Indian Garvit Batra late Thursday, eyeing a slot in the finals.
Mendoza’s chances brightened up after Chinese top seed Zheng Weiqiang, the No. 55 youth player in the world, was stunned by Kazakhstan’s Dmitriy Popko in the quarterfinals, 6-4, 6-3.
The Philippines’ suffered a painful loss to 3-on-3 basketball Thursday evening when Isaac Go, Patrick Ramirez and Andrei Carucot lost to Iran, 16-14, in the quarterfinals.
In swimming, Catherine Bondad, Jethro Chua, and Rafael Sta. Maria advanced to the finals of their respective events Thursday morning.
Bondad clocked 1:00.79 in the girls’ 100m free while Chua and Sta. Maria, in the same event, qualified with times of 54.03 and 54.34.
The Richardson twins, Kayla and Kyla, made it to the semis of the girls’ 200m race, scheduled Thursday night at the Nanjing Olympic Stadium, after finishing fifth and sixth in the 100m finals on Wednesday.