Familiarity key for Meggie Ochoa in exacting revenge against Vietnam rival

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 17) — Facing a familiar face on an international stage, Meggie Ochoa knew what she had to do to win.

Ochoa bagged the gold medal in the jiu-jitsu women' 48 kg. category in the 31st Southeast Asian Games after beating Vietnam's Minh Duong Thi Thanh in the finals match.

The two already faced each other in the 2018 Asian Games with the Vietnamese snatching the victory. This time around, Ochoa was more prepared and motivated to take down her rival.

"I had the toughest time against Vietnam. In the 2018 Asian Games, she was the one who defeated me. Entering here, I already knew how to defeat her but it wasn't easy. She had a stronger base because of her small frame," she told CNN Philippines' Sport Desk Tuesday.

Ochoa also explained why she competed in a different weight division in the Vietnam SEA Games. The world champion won gold in the 2019 SEA Games under the 45 kg. category.

"I didn't really decide but we were assigned to compete weight classes. In the 45 kg. division, there's only no Gi (or competing without kimono). I don't really train no Gi so the coaches decided to put me up in 48 kg," she said.

Ochoa admitted that the national team had a difficult time to train as it was done online. They only had less than a month to prepare face-to-face for this year's SEA Games.

"At the start of the pandemic, we were just training online. When the restrictions started to die down a bit, we would train in each other's houses. It was only around March this year that we were able to go overseas for a training camp in San Diego which is what we usually do. It was a three-week training then we had a tune-up competition. What did not change is the fact that we gave it all," the veteran athlete said.

The Philippine jiu-jitsu team took home six medals in this edition of the biennial sports meet.