This Igorot miner took seven years to mine a SEA Games gold medal. Of course, it's worth it! Congratulations kabsat!

It takes about three months to extract gold encased in a rock for miners like Ariel Lee Lampacan. It took him seven years to mine a gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games, though.

Lampacan, who used to be a miner in his hometown of Itogon, Benguet, topped the 54kgs muay thai event in the regional meet on Sunday at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center here. He outclassed Thailand's prized Sakchai Chamchi, 29-28 to nab the first of two gold medals for the Philippines in the sport.

"We were tied after two rounds. So my coach told me to turn it into a fistfight. So I did," said Lampacan in Filipino.

Because job opportunities in Baguio were scarce when Lampacan was 14 years old, he decided to just help his father who happened to be miner.

"We would go to the mountains, and we'd dig. There's a lot of process to extract the gold. It will take about 3 or 4 months before you can see the gold," he said.

But the vocation was short-lived.

After seeing his big brother, who plays muay thai, pour everything in training, he felt a jolt inside. He knew he was destined to become something more.

"I saw him train. I was 14 then. I told myself, instead of mining for the rest of my life, I will join my brother in training," he said.

He first competed in Batang Pinoy in 2013. Now, he is a gold medalist.

"This is my first SEA Games stint. I hope I will win more in the future. I will train harder," he said.

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