Annie Ramirez can’t wait to frame her Asian Games jiu jitsu gold on an exclusive wall inside her room already stuffed with medals and trophies.
Although Ramirez had won in almost every major tournament she’d been to, retirement hasn’t crossed her mind yet.
“I haven’t thought about it yet, especially not now after winning the Asian Games,’’ said the 32-year-old Ramirez with her Asiad diadem, no doubt the most precious from among her collection.
“There are still more tournaments to conquer,’’ she added following her gold-medal victory over Kazakhstan’s Galina Duvanova in the women’s 57 kg division on Thursday in the 19th Asian Games.
Ramirez has reigned supreme in the Southeast Asian Games thrice and has three Asian championship titles, an impressive run that began during her golden effort in the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games.
For most of the contest, the former judoka out of University of Santo Tomas was pinned underneath Duvanova before gradually reversing the trend for a favorable position with less than 30 seconds remaining.
It prepped her up to score a sweep against the charming Kazakh to eventually prevail for the third time in their four meetings.
“This is the only medal that’s lacking in my collection. I’ve been thinking about this almost everyday since that (Asiad) defeat,’’ Ramirez, an understudy of Philippine judo icon John Baylon, a nine-time SEA Games gold medalist, explained.
She admitted to experiencing sleepless nights following that first-round crash in 2018 Indonesia. Since then, Ramirez has become voraciously hungry for vindication.
“Winning the gold here is sweet redemption for me,’’ she said.
Ramirez’ gold is the third for Team Philippines as she joined fellow jiu jitsu grappler Meggie Ochoa, who ruled the women’s -48 kg division on Wednesday, and pole vaulter EJ Obiena atop the podium.
Boxer Eumir Marcial and sanda warrior Arnel Mandal accounted for the two silvers while the nation’s men’s regu team added another third-place output in sepak takraw for a total of 12 bronzes.
Ramirez first burst into the limelight during the 2017 Asian Indoor Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. At that time, Ramirez and Ochoa pocketed the only two golds that the country brought home.
Ramirez, who briefly competed for the judo national team before shifting to jiu jitsu on Baylon’s prodding, began her journey by defeating Vietnam’s Thi Thuong Le by advantage in the round of 16.
She then toppled Singapore’s Fiona Toh, 7-0, in the quarterfinal and downed UAE’s Shamsa Alameri by submission in the semis prior to meeting a familiar foe in Duvanova.
Clutching her gold medal after the awarding ceremony at the Xiaoshan Linpu Gymnasium here, Ramirez has no other plans yet but to take a much-needed rest.
She knows there are more international tournaments to conquer, particularly the world championships, where Ramirez finished fifth on two occasions.
“That’s definitely one of the targets. I won’t be retiring yet,’’ said Ramirez.