Kaila Napolis finally struck gold for the Philippines after winning the women’s -52-kilogram Ne-Waza in the 2023 World Combat Games in Riyadh last Thursday.
Napolis, who took home a bronze medal in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China last month, defeated France’s Anael Pannetier 2-0 in the final to secure the country’s seventh medal and the first gold medal of the tournament
On her road to the final, she had to beat Adriana Cruz of Columbia, 6-0, in the quarterfinal before posting a submission win over Mongoljin Ganbaatar of Mongolia in the semifinal.
Napolis is having a successful 2023 so far as she also won the gold medal in the same weight category in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia last May.
Prior to Napolis’ gold medal run, the national wushu team churned out two silver courtesy of Agatha Wong, Clemente Tabugara Jr. and two bronze medals, thanks to Thomton Sayan and Jones Inso.
Wrestlers Maria Aisa Ratcliff and Fierre Proudhon Afan added two more bronze medals for the Philippines, resulting in a 1-2-4 gold-silver-bronze medal tally.
The Philippine Sports Commission is doing everything it can to ensure that the allowances of the participants will be given to them in the tournament.
“We were told that the World Combat Games will push through but the allowances weren’t given right away. I want to thank the Embassy of Saudi Arabia for giving visas for two members of our PSC family so I can pay for the accommodation and give out the allowances,” PSC chairman Richard “Dickie” Bachmann said.
Two more medals are expected from the Philippines as Gretel de Paz from kickboxing and Philip Delarmino of muay thai are set to compete in the tournament.