VIENTIANE – Three lady taekwondo jins loom as the heavy favorites to capture one of the minimum three gold medals for the Philippines following their golden performance in the World Championships in Cairo, Egypt only last week.
Janice Lagman, 22, a registered nurse, Rani Ann Ortega, 23, a sports science graduate and Camille Alarilla 22, an economics graduate scored the landmark victory in the first division team competition of the fourth World Poomsae championship to win the country’s first gold in this event in a world championship.
“We are happy and still excited. Ang saya saya namin hanggang ngayon dahil hindi namin inaasahan na mananalo kami (We’re so happy because we didn’t expect to win),” said Lagman after she and her teammates beat rivals from about 56 countries in the form or non-combat category of the competitions.
Originally, the trio were members of the national sparring team and decided to pursue poomsae only two years ago.
“It’s tougher to compete in poomsae than in sparring. You need to maintain your balance, stroke can cause your team damage. Unlike in sparring where you can still recover.” said Lagman, who obtained her degree from Trinity University of Asia.
“We really prepared hard for this SEA Games,” added Ortega, a product of the University of the Philippines.
Poomsae individual and team events start tomorrow with the Filipinos installed as heavy favorites.
“We are confident but we cannot be overconfident because Vietnam is also a force to reckon with,”said Alarilla, an Ateneo Blue Eagle and niece of Philippine Ambassador to Lao PDR Marilyn Alarilla.
The other gold medal hopefuls are Olympians Antoinette Rivero and Tshomlee Go, who will campaign in the sparring event starting on Dec. 10, the day after the formal opening trites.
Other members of the team are Marlon AVenido (welterweight), Alexander Briones (heavyweight), Kathleeen Eunice Alora (bantamweight), Maria Criselda Roxas (middleweight), Kirstie Elaine Alora (heavyweight), John Paul Lizardo (finweight), Jeffrey Figueroa (bantamweight), Jean Pierre Subido (poomsae), Brian Alan Subido (poomsae), Anthony Ray Matias (poomsae) and Jyra Marie Lizardo (flyweight).