HANOI — Just before the strike of midnight, two Filipinos defied tough odds to come away with gold medals in kickboxing here in the 31st Southeast Asian Games.
One of them came from 32-year-old mother Gina Iniong-Araos whose motivation came from bashers who tried to undermine her capability after she chose to have family amid a busy, martial arts career.
“It has become a challenge for me, people who say that I should quit and just focus on taking care of my child,” said Iniong-Araos in Filipino.
The choice hasn’t been difficult for her because she has done it before. Iniong Araos has already contemplated retirement two years ago she got married to Richard Araos. Then just several months after she went on to win the women’s 55-kilogram gold in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games held in Manila.
This time after giving birth to daughter Gianna Rose, Iniong-Araos proved once again she can handle both family and career with aplomb.
Late Friday, she crushed Jaiteang Warapron of Thailand to claim the women’s low-kick 60-kg gold medal.
Later in the evening, fellow SEA Games champion and Baguio City-native Jean Claude Saclag turned back another Thai, Chaleamlap Santidongsakum in the men’s 63-kg low kick.
The Philippines wound up with two golds, four silvers and two bronzes in the sport.
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