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Elaine Alora: The weight of the world this Olympics

Kirstie Elaine Alora

MANILA, Philippines – Kirstie Elaine Alora couldn’t contain her excitement. After all, she had booked a slot to the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics after defeating 6’1” Iranian Akram Khodabandeh last April 16 during the Asian Taekwondo Olympic Qualifiers held in Manila.

“Dream come true,” she gushed then.

A little over three months later, her excitement has not dissipated one iota. Except… she feels a little sadness.

She had three other compatriots who competed that weekend for a slot in Rio. Her colleagues Kristoffer Uy, Butch Morrison and Pauline Lopez were unable to advance. It was more painful for Morrison, who was leading on points with a minute left to go in his own competition when a kick to the head saw his opponent overtake him in the dying seconds of the match.

“I want to do well not only for myself, my family, and the country but also for Butch, Pauwee, and Kris,” declared Elaine. “We talked about going together and I’m alone now. But they have all expressed support and their best wishes.”

Although her taekwondo colleagues won’t be going to Rio, Elaine will have one big booster in stands at the Barra Da Tijuca Carrioca Arena 3 — her older sister, Eunice.

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Elaine’s “ate” is a former taekwondo jin who won a bronze medal in the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games. “It was her dream too to compete in the Olympics.”

Through Elaine, Eunice, he middle of three sisters, will also get to live her out her dream. She has a younger sister taking up medicine.

How is that weight on the shoulders of this 26-year old from Biñan, Laguna?

“Not much,” she dismisses. “It’s a challenge. And it is who we are."

Elaine is a graduate of the College of Saint Benilde where she took us Business Administration majoring in Export Management. “I have been blessed. I was able to get a scholarship to college and compete in the NCAA. All athletes dream of going to the Olympics. For me, I am one step closer to my dream in competing especially in Rio.

Of course in Rio it will be a different situation. Now you have the best athletes. So I have to bring it; double or triple what I can do. But right now, I am very happy. Hopefully, after Rio, I will be fulfilled and give honor to my country and my colleagues."

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