By Marjoe Toquillo


Aleah Finnegan spearheaded the Philippine contingent in snagging the gold medal of women's all-around artistic gymnastics, capped off by her own silver medal at the 31st Southeast Asian Games on Saturday in Vietnam.

The 19-year-old Fil-American prodigy proved the substance in the words of her credentials after securing a personal best of 49.250, albeit falling short to eventual gold medalist Rifda Irfanaluthfi of Indonesia, 49.650.

Finnegan’s win also served as an exemplary SEAG debut as a Filipino athlete. The gymnastics belle was part of the U.S. national gymnastics squad in the past years.

“It’s very special to me just because it’s a medal for the Philippines,” said Finnegan. “That was really just my goal here, being able to represent them to the best of my abilities and I think I did that today."

Returning to the competitive scene after joining the Pan-American games, Finnegan led the Philippine team composed of Chiara Andrews, Ancilla Lucia Manzano, Lucia Gutierrez, Kursten Lopez, and Ma. Cristina Loberanes to their highly coveted victory with a collective score of 184.500.

The host country, Vietnam, claimed the silver medal on a thin drawback of 0.7 points, while Singapore completed the podium with 182.550.

Andrews played a vital part for the Philippine team with her 46.050 points while Gutierrez and Manzano solidified the win with individual scores of 42.400 and 32.400, respectively.

This triumph added glory to Philippines’ name in gymnastics after two-time world champion Carlos Edriel Yulo led the men’s team to a silver while claiming the individual gold last Friday.

Medals are still expected to pile up in the upcoming days as Yulo is out to surpass his performance last 2019 from wherein he clinched two gold and five silver medals.