The energy in the stadium was electrifying today both in the grandstands and inside the ropes, as the SEA Games finalists blazed their trails along their gold quests. This competition so far has shown us the incredible development the sport has seen in the SEA region with such a great spread of talent and well-honed technique. Today’s finals will definitely promise some elite level displays from some top contenders. The fans know it and you can feel the anticipation in the air.
Kicking off the bouts was Malaysia VS Laos in the Men’s 45Kg division. Malaysia’s young buck graduating into the seniors from the juniors, Mohammad Rifdean Masdor stepping into the finals from a round 2 RSCO win in yesterday’s semis. The Laotian opponent Soulixay Singsavath having plucked his way through, taking out Thailand and Vietnam was indeed to be a challenging adversary. Round one both fighters executive clean, textbook technique and careful focus. Masdor did more and took the round 5-0. Singsavath powered up in round 2 to try to close the gap, taking the Malay to the mat with a perfect leg catch and continued pushing forward. With just 4 seconds to go in the round, Masdor executed a perfect spinning elbow and it was lights out for his opponent. The young Malay securing his spot on the top of the podium.
Next up was Philippines VS Thailand in the 45Kg division with home girl Islay Erika Bomogao facing off with Thailand’s Ketmanee Chasing with an advantage of entering the ring fresh from a walk over the day before. An explosive start to the round and Islay dominated the first half. Ketmanee warmed up in the second half and landed a succession of clean hits on target taking the round. Ketemanee cashing in on her height and reach advantage but Islay giving as good as she got to end the round in a 3-2 split to Thailand. Islay fought back hard in the final round to close the gap but her all was not enough and Ketmanee pravailed to claim the gold for Thailand winning by a hair with 29-28.
In the men’s 48 KG it was Thailand’s Naruephon Chitra and Malaysia’s Zulhilmi Rosli vying for top dog. Both playing it safe in the first round to test the waters. With a take take down under his belt, the Thai took the first round. The second round was a playful back and forth, Chitra taking it again convincing 4 of the 5 judges. In the final round, Chitra proved he was the stronger of the two, taking Rosli to the mat 3 times. After an intense 3 rounds of careful strategy, it was Chitra who convinced the judges winning the match and snatching another win for Thailand.
Next up was Bui Yen Ly of Vietnam facing off with Philippines’ Jenelyn Olsim in the women’s 54KG division. Bui Yen Ly with the height and reach advantage, Olsim had her work cut out for her. Vietnam maintained dominance in round one putting Jenelyn to the mat with an explosive push kick to the solar plexus. Trying to catch up in the second round, Jenelyn’s attempts to bring the game to close quarters were in vain, unable to get in close enough without being a target for Bui’s thunderous long limbed kicks. Round three was all or nothing for the home girl, and as the stadium’s cheers egged her on. In a brilliant performance, Bui Yen Ly defeated her opponent winning 30-27.
The local fans’ next hope was in the Men’s 54KG division with Ariel Lee Lampacan going head to head with Thailand’s Sakchai Chamchit. The first round began with a friendly hug and then straight into action from both corners with swift kicks and strikes. Ariel bringing the house to maximum volume with each strike that landed on point. Sakchai showing a tad more superior skill in the round to take it by a small margin 3-2. The second round Ariel brought it back stronger and secured the round equalising at the end of the round. Round three was loudest of all as fans thundered their support for their home boy. It was an all out battle of brawn and brain and it was Ariel to seize the gold for the Philippines, and the title of SEA Games champion to the screams of ecstatic fans.
There was a buzz of excitement as Philippine’s Philip Delarmino made his way to battle against Vietnam’s Long Doan Nguyen. Both with strong support of their fans, and both coming out of 30-27 wins from their previous bouts. Delarmino taking the fight to Nguyen, in a fast paced first round to the cheers of excited fans. Establishing his strength and dominance, he took the round to the roar of the crowd. Nguyen doing his best to equalize in the second, but fell short of Delarmino’s will of steel and supercharged power taking the Vietnamese to the mat numerous times. Round three was all out mayhem as Nguyen turned up the heat on Delarmino in a last ditch effort to seek that one lucky shot. After what was an intense round of intense action, the crowd went wild as Philippines was declared the victor, securing yet another gold for the home team.
The final match of the tournament and the host country’s final hope for one more gold was in the Men’s 63.5Kg division with Ryan Jakiri facing off with Thailand’s Norapat Khundam. The two combatants delivered their best performance and text book technique over three rounds of muaythai mayhem that had the entire stadium off their seats. Ryan the more powerful in the first round showing Khundam the mat not once but twice to take the round. Khundam came back furiously taking the game to close quarters in the second round landing a clean knee to the body out of the clinch taking Jakiri down for a count that had the Referee stopping the bout by RSCO. The early stoppage secured the gold for Thailand.