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HomeSportsSEA Games 2023: Veteran wrestler Maria Vergara comes out of retirement to...

SEA Games 2023: Veteran wrestler Maria Vergara comes out of retirement to win gold

Philippines' Maria Cristina Villanueva (in red) competes against Cambodia's Vannak Sambat (in blue) in their women's -65kg wrestling round match during the 32nd Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in Phnom Penh on May 15, 2023.

Philippines’ Maria Cristina Villanueva (in purple) competes towards Cambodia’s Vannak Sambat (in blue) of their ladies’s -65kg wrestling spherical match in the course of the thirty second Southeast Asian Video games (SEA Video games) in Phnom Penh on Could 15, 2023. (Picture by Nhac NGUYEN / AFP)

PHNOM PENH—Faraway from energetic grappling for a very long time, Maria Cristina Vergara returned to the mat on Monday and rewarded the Philippines and herself with a shiny gold medal on the thirty second Southeast Asian Video games.

Vergara introduced down Cambodia’s Sambat Vannak by superiority within the ladies’s 65kg in freestyle wrestling for the nation’s second gold within the sport following Jason Balabal’s victory within the males’s Greco Roman 87kg on Sunday.

Summoning her outdated kind, Vergara took down the Cambodian grappler a number of instances for a 12-2 win amid preventing in hostile territory.

“Competing right here within the SEA Video games is an enormous sacrifice for me,’’ mentioned Vergara, who’s now a part of the nationwide workforce teaching employees and a last-minute alternative for an injured Filipino entry.

One of many best grapplers Group Philippines ever produced, Vergara was a two-time SEA Video games gold medalist throughout her prime, successful her weight class within the 2003 Vietnam and 2005 Manila editions of the 11-nation meet.

She retired proper after the 2007 Video games in Thailand earlier than becoming a member of the nationwide workforce teaching employees a number of years later.

“I ended taking part in and was gone for greater than 10 years, however I used to be capable of execute the methods that I used earlier than,’’ added Vergara, who defeated Sopha Thammavong of Laos by superiority within the semifinals.


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