KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Already inspired to win gold in the Southeast Asian Games to honor his late grandmother, Samuel Morrison gained even more motivation after one of his teammates in the Philippine taekwondo team suffered a controversial loss.
Alcantara, a SEA Games rookie, lost in a highly disputed men's -68kg finals to Malaysian jin Rozaimi bin Rozali, who was declared the winner by "punitive declaration" after the scores were tied at 17-all at the end of three rounds.
The head judge ruled that the Pinoy jin had already accumulated 10 "gamjeoms," or penalties, and was thus disqualified – much to the consternation of the Philippine team, who insisted that Alcantara only had nine penalties as indicated by the electronic scoreboard.
Moreover, Philippine taekwondo coach Dindo Simpao said there was no reason for the score to be tied in the first place, as Alcantara should have won "by a mile."
After seeing his teammate on the losing end of a dubious decision, Morrison vented his ire on Indonesian Dinggo Ard Prayago in the gold medal match of the men's -74kg division.
Morrison, who was born in Olongapo City, won, 28-18, and later dedicated his victory to his grandmother, Rosario Barias, who died of a stroke last year.
"Nanggigil po ako ng matalo si Arven," Morrison admitted. "Kaya sinabi ko, babawi ako sa kanya."
The Philippine taekwondo team filed a protest regarding Alcantara's loss, but a more formal protest will be forthcoming upon the behest of Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose Cojuangco Jr., who witnessed the bout at Hall 1 and was reportedly angered by what happened.
"This is not good for the sport," Cojuangco said. "The Malaysian should not get away with it."
Cojuangco also called up Malaysian Olympic Committee secretary general Low Beng Choo to express his grievance over the outcome.
With 13 seconds left in the third and final round of the match, Alcantara fought valiantly, rallying from a 13-16 deficit with a swift turning long kick to the Malaysian’s head - worth four points – but was penalized for slipping, leading to the 17-all deadlock.
Had the judge allowed the match to proceed, both jins would have gone on to sudden-death, with the first to score a point being declared the winner.
Morrison was the lone taekwondo jin to produce a gold medal on Sunday afternoon.
Pauline Louise Lopez, who won a gold in the women’s -57kg class in Singapore, settled for the bronze this time in the heavier -62kg class after dropping a close 3-4 decision to Vietnam veteran Ja Thi Nguyen in the semis.
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