By Marjoe Toquillo

Kurt Barbosa remained on the top podium since his 2019 win after claiming the gold medal for the Philippines in the men’s kyorugi under 54 kg of the 31st Southeast Asian Games at the Tay Ho Gymnasium in Vietnam, Tuesday.

PHOTO: Tiebreaker Times

Barbosa exhibited a stellar performance as the 2020 Tokyo Olympian smothered Thailand’s Panachai Jaijula in an overwhelming 16-7 score, enough for him to defend his golden throne.

“Pilipinas, we made it again,” said Barbosa in his Facebook post after his win. “I dedicate this victory to all of you."

Before Barbosa’s match-for-gold against Jaijula, the National University pride first nosed out a nerve-wracking combat against Indonesia’s Reinaldy Atmanegara that ended in a 44-42 score.

The taekwondo whiz also toppled the host country’s bet, Ngoc Lam Duong in a demolishing advantage at 31-10 during the quarterfinals of the tourney.

Jaijula took the silver medal for Thailand for his loss against Barbosa while both Atmanegara and Malaysian Chung Wan Sebastian Tan completed the podium at bronze.

Barbosa, during the 30th SEAG also dominated the finweight division of Taekwondo after beating Atmanegara in the finals of the late competition.

Laila Delo on the other hand clutched a bronze medal in the women’s minus 67 category as she ended her journey at the semifinals of the tournament.