Fifteen-year-old Tachiana Kezhia Mangin earned her first-ever gold medal Saturday as the Philippines took eight of 19 gold medals at stake in the kyorugi junior division of the 16th ASEAN Taekwondo Championships at the Ayala Malls-Manila Bay in Parañaque City.
Mangin’s spinning back kicks in the third round carried her to a 2-1 (6-1, 0-7, 10-3) win over Vietnamese foe Nguyen Thi Loan and the junior female featherweight division title.
The 5’8” Mangin, a 10th grader from University of Santo Tomas, said she has never claimed a gold medal in the five international meets that she has joined since 2019.
“Hindi pa po nananalo ng gold sa tatlong taon ko pong pagsali sa international. Ngayon pa lang po. Marami na rin po akong natutunan,” said Mangin.
She started in international sorties with a silver-medal finish in the ASEAN Taekwondo’s -33 kg junior women’s category, followed by two bronze medals in the Asian and World Championship in Amman, Jordan, and Tashkent, Uzbekistan respectively in 2019.
Then, another bronze in the Ho Chi Minh edition of Asian tilt last year saw Mangin move up to no. 13 in the Asian rankings.
National University standout John Angelo Pascual also needed three rounds to make it past another Vietnamese, Nguyen Phuoc Khuong, 2-1 (3-0, 2-6, 8-1), and take the junior men’s welterweight honors.
“Naging maganda po ang first experience ko sa paglaban sa international meet. Dahil dito ay pagbubutihan ko na po sa mga susunod pang laban,” said Pascual, a 10th grader.
Pascual said Nguyen anticipated his moves in the second round and quick counterstrikes in the third allowed him to recover on points.
Also contributing to the Philippines’ gold output on Day 2 in the male division are Aldrich Paul Merin (finweight), Kurt Curata (bantamweight), Ocean Dinoro (lightweight), Justine Atienza (lightheavyweight).
Chloe Chua came off with the Philippines’ second gold in the junior female side with her 2-0 (7-0, 16-4) triumph over Singaporean Ingrid Iskandar in the light middleweight action.