Wrestling mom, daughter deliver gold, bronze

Wrestling mom, daughter deliver gold, bronze

Wrestling mom Cristina Villanueva Vergara  (Photo credits: ABS-CBN News)

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Wrestling mom Cristina Villanueva Vergara and her daughter Cathlyn Gee stole the limelight from the other Filipinos competing in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games on Monday, delivering a gold and bronze medal at the Chroy Changvar Center Hall.

Vergara, a 44-year-old retired Philippine Navy enlisted personnel, won the gold in the women’s freestyle 65 kg category, outclassing Cambodia’s Sambat Vannak via a 12-2 technical superiority.

“I never thought I can still do it,” said Villanueva, who came out of retirement a few years ago after hanging her jersey after the 2007 SEA Games in Thailand. “I was amazed that I can still do my techniques very well.”

Vergara, a gold winner in the 2003 Vietnam and 2005 Manila SEA Games, made it to the finals after beating Sopha Thammahong of Laos also by superiority in the semifinals.

Vergara’s daughter couldn’t duplicate her mother’s gold but her bronze medal finish in the women’s freestyle 59kg event, behind gold winner Ann Tuyet Tran of Vietnam and silver medalist Salinee Srisombat of Thailand, made the mom doubly proud.

“I keep pushing her to train smart and harder because she has the opportunity to excel. She can still go to the Olympics because she’s still young,” Vergara said of her 18-year-old daughter, a first-year BS Nutrition and Dietetics student at the University of Santo Tomas.

It was the Wrestling Association of the Philippines’ second gold medal after Jason Balabal’s gold win in the men’s 87kg Greco-Roman event last Sunday.

“It’s a great improvement on our part after coming out with no gold medals in the last Vietnam Games,” Alvin Aguilar, the president of Wrestling Association of the Philippines, said. “I am really happy that they delivered.”

Pinoy wrestlers won seven silvers and five bronzes in last year’s Hanoi games. (ai/mtvn)

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