Prior the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, Jamie Lim used to be known as “Samboy Lim’s daughter.”
But now, she has a new name: SEA Games champion.
The pretty 22-year-old karateka formally stepped out of her father’s giant shadow when she pulled off a shocking upset of Asian champion Ceyco Zefanya of Indonesia, 2-1, in the women’s +61kg kumite event to clinch her first SEA Games gold medal yesterday at the World Trade Center.
Lim, a summa cum laude graduate at the University of the Philippines, said the golden feat was unexpected since she failed to come up with a solid preparation leading to the Games.
“I had nothing. I had no training for four years because I had to focus on school. I only graduated last June and that’s when I started training again,” said Lim, beads of tears starting to roll down her cheeks.
“For five months I worked so hard for this and I gave everything and against all odds I never thought that I would win the gold here.”
True enough, the road to glory wasn’t easy for Lim.
She outlasted Audrey Japyus in the quarterfinals, 7-3, before facing reigning Southeast Asian champion Thi Thao Bui of Vietnam, 5-1, to punch a ticket to the finals.
There, she prevailed over the reigning Asian queen from Indonesia to essay a fairy-tale finish.
“For five months, I worked so hard for this and I gave everything. Against all odds, I never thought I would win a gold medal here.”
Winning a gold in the international stage is nothing new to the family.
The elder Lim, who is considered as one of the greatest Filipino basketball players of all time, won the mints in the FIBA Asia Champions Cup in 1984 and the FIBA Asia Championship in 1985 on top of a gold medal in the 1985 SEA Games and silver medal in the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing.
On the same note, her mother — Atty. Darlene Bernabe — is also an achiever for being the former chief operating officer of the Home Development Mutual Fund.
“My dad is the inspiration for all of us,” said Lim, who finished with a degree in Mathematics. “In June, I graduated summa cum laude like my mom and now, I’m a gold medalist like my dad.”
Unfortunately, the elder Lim is not in good condition after suffering cardiac arrest in 2014.
Lim said she made sure to inform her father about her battle, where she would shoot for her first-ever international gold medal.
“I called him yesterday and I wasn’t talking much because I was super nervous. But I promised him that I would do my best in this tournament,” she said, wiping off the tears.
“There were tournaments that I loss and I only get the silver medal and I thought maybe this is not for me and everything is just so hard. But with this, I am now sure that this is what I want.”
Meanwhile, Ivan Agustin finished with the bronze medal in the -75kg men’s individual kumite while Sharief Afif also bagged the bronze as well in the +75kg class.
The trio of John Vasquez, Adam Bondoc and Mark Manantan also clinched the bronze medal in the men’s team kata category.