There are few moments less glorious than winning gold for your country.
In just a couple of days, we’ll be able to see some of our very best athletes once again raise Filipino pride in this year’s Southeast Asian Games (SEAG). In 2019, the Philippines played host to the biennially held sporting event and emerged as the overall champion by breaking its largest SEAG medal haul in history. To be held in Hanoi, Vietnam, the upcoming 2021 SEA Games were postponed to this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While Filipino athletes have undoubtedly met several challenges during their training preparations during the past few years, hopes of replicating the Philippines’ victory have, fortunately, not been diminished.
And what better way to seize gold than with the champions we already have?
Without further ado, here are four Chinoy athletes who aim to defend their titles as the reigning SEAG champions:
Agatha Wong: Wushu
This Chinoy martial artist didn’t just win one gold medal at the 2019 SEA Games — she bagged two! As a wushu practitioner specializing in taolu, Wong made history by dominating the women’s events in taijiquan and taijijian in home soil. Beyond her SEAG accomplishments, she is also the silver medalist of the taijijian compulsory event in the 2015 World Wushu Championships and the bronze medalist at the taijijian event in the 2018 Asian Games.
Wong will compete at the wushu tournament on May 13–15.
Lois Kaye Go: Golf
Now on her third stint, Go will be heading back to the SEA Games as a seasoned veteran. In previous years, she became not only the 2019 SEAG champion at the women’s team event (alongside Bianca Pagdanganan) but also the 2017 SEAG bronze medalist at the women’s individual event. Showing her exemplary proficiency at the continental level, Go is also the 2018 Asian Games gold medalist and the 2018 Kuala Lumpur Amateur Open champion.
Go will compete at the golf tournament which will take place from May 13–18.
Jamie Lim: Karate
Lim, alongside Junna Tsukii, is one of two reigning gold medalists representing the women’s kumite team. Possessing both brain and brawn, the UP-Diliman summa cum laude graduate recently snatched a silver medal at the 2021 Asian Karate Championships in Kazakhstan. Although the karateka missed the World Karate Federation Premier League last April 22 due to injury, Lim hopes to continue her strong results with a defended title in the women’s kumite +61 event in Hanoi.
Lim will compete at the karate competition to be held on May 18–20.
EJ Obiena: Pole Vault
Can you believe that the world’s sixth-best pole vaulter almost wasn’t allowed to compete at the SEA Games in Vietnam? As the Asian record holder for pole vaulting, Obiena is popularly recognized to be the heavy gold medal favorite, which is probably why he is also assigned to be the flagbearer for the Philippine team during the SEAG’s opening ceremony. Beyond that, the Tokyo Olympian has bagged titles at the 2019 Asian Athletics Championships; the 2019 Summer Universiade; and, of course, the 2019 SEA Games, among his many other achievements.
Obiena will compete at the pole vault event on May 14.
Featuring 40 sports, the 2021 SEA Games will take place on May 12–23, 2022 in Hanoi, Vietnam.