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ICYMI: Kaila Napolis earns PH's first gold for 32nd SEA Games, PH now holds four gold medals

By Melanie Uson Published May 06, 2023 1:15 pm

Kaila Napolis kicked off the SEA Games strong by clinching the first gold medal for the Philippines, scoring 2-0 in the women’s jiujitsu at the 32nd Southeast Asian Games.  

Held last Thursday, May 4, Napolis secured the gold medal in the Ne-waza Nogi -52kg event, with a 2-0 win against Cambodia’s Jessa Khan, who she previously lost to in a 49 kg match during the 2019 SEA Games. 

“I really wanted to win against her this time,” Napolis said. 

Overjoyed, the 25-year-old athlete also took to Instagram to express her gratitude following her win. 

“4 matches to Seagames Gold,” she said. “My faith as small as a mustard seed got me through here. I'm so happy I was able to conquer my fear of competing against one of the best in the world,” she wrote.

“Thank you to everyone I've shared the mats with! We finally got our 'oneday' because of all of YOU,” she concluded. 

Aside from Napolis, three more Filipino athletes earned their gold medals, allowing the Philippines to hold four gold medals. 

The second gold was brought by SEA Games first-timer Angel Gwen Derla, winning the Kun Bokator competition having 8.4992 points, besting Cambodia’s bet Chanchhorvy Puth. 

Kun Bokator is Cambodia’s ancient martial art which debuted in this year’s SEA Games. 

In Saturday games, May 6, the third gold for the Philippines was delivered by Precious Cabuya who won the women’s 100m obstacle course at 32.72 seconds, smashing her own world record of 33.12 seconds. 

She also bested another Philippine athlete Kaizen dela Serna who finished at 35.52 seconds. 

Shortly after, Mark Rodelas, nephew of “Long Jump Queen” Elma Muros-Posadas, clinched the fourth gold in the men’s individual obstacle race at 25.19-second mark, beating another Philippine bet Kevin Pascua who finished at 26.81. 
The 32nd Southeast Asian Games will be held until May 17, with Cambodia as the host country. As of writing, the Philippines currently has four gold medals, six silver medals, and four bronze medals.