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Four years away from karate doesn't stop Jamie Lim from winning gold

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Jamie Lim takes down karate gold (2:20)

Jamie Lim won the kumite individual +61kg event after stepping away from karate competition for four years. (2:20)

Jamie Lim broke into tears the moment she was declared the winner of the women's kumite individual +61kg event of the 30th Southeast Asian Games karate competition on Monday.

For someone who had to give up karate for four years, the victory couldn't be any sweeter.

She blasted through Malaysia's Audrey Japyus and Vietnam's Thi Thao Bui in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively, before putting on a dazzling display in the finals to edge out Indonesia's Ceyco Zefanya, 2-1, for the gold.

Jamie, who happens to be the daughter of basketball great Samboy Lim, was still emotional when she faced reporters backstage. She answered questions with tears running down her cheeks, describing how she had to focus her attention to school for several years, forcing her to take a step back from karate.

"My opponent in the semifinals was a gold medalist in the [Southeast Asian Karate Federation], then in the finals was a silver medalist in the Asian Karate Federation this year, and I had nothing," she expressed. "Four years of no training, because I focused on school and against all odds, I was able to accomplish this."

Once she finished her studies as a Summa Cum Laude, Lim didn't waste time in hitting the mats again. True enough, her sacrifice and perseverance reaped rewards.

"You have no idea [how much work I put in]. I graduated in June and the day after I graduated, I started training. Five months I worked so hard for this... I gave everything, against all odds. I didn't expect to win the gold," she said.

She added she is dedicating this accolade to her mom and dad, Samboy, who is also SEA Games gold medalist as part of the team that won the basketball tournament in the 1985 edition.

"I wasn't talking much [to him before the competition because I was ] super nervous. But I know my dad's there for me always. I just promised him to do my best," she said.

"My dad is the best inspiration ever. In June, I was Summa Cum Laude like my mom. I never thought that I'd win gold in the SEA Games just like my dad. This just means so much. I love them both... it's for them."

Apart from Lim, other Filipino karatekas also bagged medals on the third day of the karate competition.

Ivan Agustin copped the bronze in the men's kumite individual -75kg event after defeating Myanmar's Zaw Min Htet, 11-4. Sharief Afif also settled for a bronze, taking down Cambodia's Vibol Sreang, 5-0, in the +75 kumite, while the men's kata team beat Myanmar, 23.74 to 23.14, to win bronze as well.