Team Lakay’s very own Gina “Conviction” Iniong won the Philippines’ a gold medal in kickboxing during the Southeast Asian Games.
Iniong swept Apichaya Minkhwan from Thailand with a score of 3-0 in the Women's 55 KG Kick Light Category in a match for the gold.
“Words could not express how happy I am right now,” Iniong said.
“This is my first time to represent my country at the SEA Games and I was a little nervous about my performance. It’s a different type of competition than what I’m used to. I’m just glad that all our hard work paid off.”
Iniong, as a professional mixed martial artist, found some difficulties in the initial part of the tournament but was quick to find her bearings, remaining calm and playing it smart during the final match.
She carefully picked and timed her strikes as her opponent attempted to take her out with spinning attacks. The Team Lakay stalwart, with all her preparations leading up to the competition, was able to knock down Minkhwan several times to clinch the victory.
“I have been a mixed martial artist for a long time and to join this tournament as a kickboxer is a little different,” Iniong said.
“For the competition, I have to wear safety gear which adds a little weight and is restrictive. There are also some skills I am not allowed to perform, so I have to be calm and have the presence of mind or else I will get into trouble. The team and I have been working on my striking and speed, the goal was to hit harder and faster.”
Iniong let out a sigh of relief after all her hard work and sacrifices paid off with a gold medal. She dedicates the win to everyone who helped and believed in her skills. Now that her part in the SEA Games has ended, Iniong is ready to get back to the gym and prepare for her next appearance with ONE Championship.
“We are going to have a simple celebration for our victory and then it’s back to Baguio for more training,” Iniong concluded.
“This has been an amazing experience for me and I’m glad that I was able to get the gold medal for the Philippines. I would like to thank my team and everyone who gave their support, not only to me but to the entire Filipino delegation. This win is for all of us. Once we’re back in Baguio, I need to continue my training and preparations for my next bout with ONE Championship next year.”
Iniong is scheduled to return to mixed martial arts action in Manila this 31 January, when she takes on India’s Asha “Knockout Queen” Roka at ONE: FIRE & FURY.