Malabuyo bags silver, Finnegan nails bronze as PH women break through in Asian championships

Delfin Dioquino

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Malabuyo bags silver, Finnegan nails bronze as PH women break through in Asian championships

PERFORM. The Philippines' Emma Malabuyo in action for the UCLA Gymnastics Team in the US NCAA.

UCLA Gymnastics Instagram page

Emma Malabuyo scoops up a floor exercise silver, while Aleah Finnegan snags a balance beam bronze to pair with her vault bronze as the Asian Artistic Gymnastics Championships draws to a close

MANILA, Philippines – Emma Malabuyo refused to go home empty-handed from the Asian Artistic Gymnastics Championships.

The Filipina bet scooped up a silver in the women’s floor exercise, while teammate Aleah Finnegan snagged bronze in the women’s balance beam as the continental tiff in Singapore drew to a close on Sunday, June 18.

Debuting for the Philippines in the Asian championships after representing the United States in past years, Malabuyo garnered 13.166 points in the floor exercise final to finish behind gold medalist Zhang Qingying of China.

Malabuyo, who got named as an alternate for the United States’ Tokyo Olympics team, improved on her seventh-place finish in the qualification, where she scored 13.033 points.

Zhang proved why she emerged as the top qualifier in the apparatus, garnering 13.233 points in the final to capture the crown.

Korea’s Shin Sol-yi bagged bronze with 13.066 points, while Finnegan fell short of what would have been her third bronze in the Asian championships as she placed fourth with 12.966 points.

Earlier in the day, Finnegan claimed the balance beam bronze to pair with the vault bronze she won a day prior.

Finnegan recorded 12.833 points for third place in the balance beam, where Malabuyo ranked fifth with 12.166 points.

China finished one-two in the apparatus, with Zhang Qingying (14.2) and Zhang Xinyi (13.133) winning the balance beam gold and silver, respectively.

Thanks to Malabuyo and Finnegan, this edition of the Asian championships marked the first time the Philippines won medals in the women’s events.

Malabuyo and Finnegan also contributed to the Philippines’ overall haul, with the country ending its campaign as the second-best performing nation behind China with eight medals total: three golds, two silvers, and three bronzes.

Carlos Yulo showed the way for the Philippines as he wound up as the best performing male gymnast, clinching golds in vault, parallel bars, and floor exercise, silver in individual all-around, and bronze in horizontal bar.

Yulo and Finnegan will be joined by Kylee Kvamme in the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp, Belgium in September as they seek to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics. –

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.