SEA Games

Tan rules bowling, Isleta tops swimming as long SEA Game gold droughts end

JR Isaga
Tan rules bowling, Isleta tops swimming as long SEA Game gold droughts end

LAST CUT. Chloe Isleta misses a chance to showcase her wares in the FINA World Championships.

Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters

Chloe Isleta snaps a 29-year SEA Games women's swimming gold medal drought for the Philippines, while Merwin Tan ends the country's 11-year absence atop the region's bowling elite

MANILA, Philippines – Gold medals continued to rain down for the Philippines in the Southeast Asian Games, and historically at that for two sports, as bowler Merwin Tan struck gold in men’s singles while swimmer Chloe Isleta ruled the women’s 200-meter backstroke.

With her golden finish, the 24-year-old Isleta ended a 29-year drought in Philippine women’s swimming in the SEA Games, while Tan snapped an 11-year absence by the country at the top of the region’s bowling elite.

Isleta clocked in her historical run at 2 minutes and 18.6 seconds to best Indonesia’s Nurul Fajar Fitriyati (2 minutes, 19.79 seconds) and Thailand’s Mia Millar (2 minutes, 19.9 seconds).

Meanwhile, the 22-year-old Tan garnered 1,292 points in his golden finale to edge Thai bowler Larp-Apharat Yannaphon, who got just 6 points less at 1,286, and Indonesian Ryan Leonard Lalisang, who scored 1,221.

With the breakthrough, Tan became the first Filipino bowler to rule the event since Frederick Ong reigned in 2011. Isleta also became the first Filipina to win in the sport since Akiko Thompson topped the 100m and 200m backstroke in 1993. 

Isleta and Tan helped the third-running Philippines hike its gold medal haul to 30 overall on top of 34 silvers and 44 bronzes.

Thailand is still in second place with 36 golds, 38 silvers, and 53 bronzes, while host country Vietnam further extended its likely insurmountable tally of 86 golds, 54 silvers, and 55 bronzes. –

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