Gina Iniong sacrificed her honeymoon to win SEA Games gold
Success often requires sacrifice, and Gina Iniong’s moment of glory in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games is no exception.
Iniong competes as a mixed martial artist in the ONE Championship atomweight division. She also won a gold medal in kickboxing at the SEA Games but the 30 year old should have been on her honeymoon instead of representing her country.
Iniong tied the knot with her longtime partner Richard Araos this past October. But she could not turn down the call to represent the Philippines,
“There was a tryout for kickboxing, and they were looking for an experienced fighter. I tried out, and luckily, I got in. I have a background in martial arts, and I have been training kickboxing long before I joined the national team, so I never thought I would have a problem adjusting,” she said
Fortunately for Iniong, her husband gave her his blessings to suit up for the SEA Games. However, there was one condition,
“We talked about it, and he told me I need to get the gold medal, so we wouldn’t waste our time. After all, we just got married and here I am training,” Iniong revealed.
Iniong was true to her promise as she brought home the gold medal, defeating Thailand’s Apichaya Mingkhwan in the finals of the women’s 55kgs kickboxing (light) category with a 3-0 score.
Over the course of three rounds, Iniong looked a step ahead on all fronts as she easily prevented Mingkhwan from employing her own offense, while also picking her Thai foe apart with her signature overhand right and follow-up kicks to the body.
Her relentless pressure drew a thunderous chorus of cheers from the crowd as she floored the Thai taekwondo specialist on multiple occasions towards the end of the bout,
“Our game plan was really to get inside because she’s a taekwondo player. I timed my attacks well,” Iniong said about the match.
Iniong’s Team Lakay comrades also hauled gold medals for the Philippines. Jerry Olsim beat Thailand’s Sarayut Klinming in the 69kgs kickboxing (light) bracket, while Jean Claude Saclag emerged victorious in the finals of the men’s 63.5kgs low kick tournament against Mohammed Bin Mahmoud of Malaysia.
Having sacrificed her honeymoon to compete in the SEA Game she paid tribute to her husband,
“The nice thing about him is he is very supportive. He totally understands my profession. He even watched me compete in the SEA Games. I am blessed to have him in my life,” she shared.
Next up for Iniong is an MMA bout at ONE: ‘Fire & Fury’ on January 31st at the Mall Of Asia Arena. She is set to collide with India’s Asha Roka in an atomweight bout.
With less than two month’s between the SEA Games and Iniong’s next MMA fight there probably won’t be time to squeeze in a honeymoon. Instead the 30 year old will be looking to secure the tenth win of her career to go with that gold medal.