KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – The disappointments keep coming for Team Philippines in the 29th Southeast Asian Games, after veteran taekwondo jin Kirstie Elaine Alora, the country's flag-bearer in the opening ceremonies, lost in the final of the -73kg division on Tuesday at the KLCC Hall 1 here.
Facing off against Cambodian rival Sorn Seavmey, Alora led 1-0 early but committed violations that led to points for her taller opponent. She was trailing 3-6 after round 2, and while she was more aggressive in the third and final round, Alora could not make up for the deficit.
Sorn, the defending SEA Games champion and a gold medalist in the 2014 Asian Games, took a 13-6 victory, making it the third straight time that she has beaten Alora.
"I did my best, siyempre," said Alora after the bout as she settled for the silver medal. "I'm trying talaga to score and get some points, but siguro, kulang pa rin ng follow-ups."
"It's a good fight," she added. "I did my best, so no regrets."
Alora, who defeated Lao's Sirimanotham Sonesavanh in the semis to advance to the gold medal match, revealed that she and her team have scouted Sorn very well already, and prepared as best as they can for the fight. But the Cambodian's advantage in reach remains a puzzle that the Filipina cannot solve.
"Pag magi-intercept na ako, mas nauuna pa rin ang tukod niya," Alora explained.
Compounding Alora's problems were the referee's decisions to penalize her for certain motions such as grabbing or side-stepping.
"I got five gamjeums (penalties), and it's a big factor. Five points na naiwanan niya ako doon," she said.
"Noong unang round and second round, I think mas lamang ako doon," Alora also said. "But the last round, siguro naging careless na din, dahil naghahabol ako ng points."
"But still, I think ito 'yung pinaka-best fight ko rin against her."
The result of Alora's match was a blow to Team Philippines, who so far have only 24 gold medals with the biennial meet rapidly drawing to a close.
Another taekwondo jin, Francis Aaron Agojo, could not add to the country's gold medal haul as he was soundly beaten by Vietnam's Nguyen Van Duy, 30-17, in the semis of the men's -63kg event.
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