By Dion Mikhail Fetalvero

Meggie Ochoa and Annie Ramirez defended their 2019 titles and added two golds in jiu-jitsu while Samantha Catantan bagged the fencing team its first gold in the 31st Southeast Asian Games as Team Philippines ended Saturday’s campaign with 7 new gold medals.


Three-time world champion Ochoa displayed her world-class pedigree at Dan Phuong Gymnasium in Vietnam as she dominated the women’s 48 kg division, defeating hometown bet Minh Duong Thi Thanh to seal the country’s first gold in the discipline.

It was soon followed by her fellow 2019 Sea Games gold medalist Ramirez who ruled the 62 kg class, overpowering Thai Orapa Senatham to deliver the country’s second gold in the sport.

On Sunday, their fellow compatriots Jolly Co, Jan Cortez, and Marc Lim will strive to deliver more gold medals for the country in their respective jiu-jitsu divisions.

Meanwhile, Filipina fencer Catantan improved her bronze medal performance from the 2019 edition of the biennial meet as she edged out Singapore’s Maxine Jie Xin Wong, 14-12 in the finals of women’s individual foil at Hanoi Indoor Games Palace.

The 2019 SEA Games bronze medalist made a titular run throughout the competition, defeating Thai fencer Chayabutphat Shinnakerdchoke in the semifinals, 15-4.

With her win, along with the dominance of the Philippine triathlon team, artistic gymnastic team, and EJ Obiena’s gold medal vault, the country will end the day at fifth place in the overall standings with 12 golds, 19 silvers, and 26 bronze medals.

The SEA Games will last until May 23 when the country aims to land in the top three positions in the overall medal tally.