Taekwondo jins brace for 4-gold bid in SEAG

Gerry Carpio (The Philippine Star) - August 25, 2017 - 4:00pm

KUALA LUMPUR – A pumped up taekwondo team bannered by four defending champions – the poomsae squad and kyorugi (combat) champions Pauline Lopez, Kirstie Elaine Alora and Samuel Thomas Harper Morrison – begins its medal quest in the medal-rich sport of taekwondo at the start of the Southeast Asian Games taekwondo competitions today at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center, a stone’s throw from the Petronas Twin Towers.

The handpicked 12-member taekwondo is fielding a three-male and three-female team for the poomsae team and individual competitions where four golds are at stake and three each in the men’s and women’s kyorugi competitions. A total of 15 gold medals is at stake.

The team of Dustin Jacob Mella, Enrico Mella and Rodolfo Reyes Jr. begins its title defense in men’s poomsae while the women’s team, led by individual 2015 silver medalist Rinna Babanto, vows to improve on its bronze medal effort in search of its first ever women’s team gold in the two-day competition also starting today.

Other members of the women’s team are Jocelyn Ninobla and Juenille Faye Crisostomo. 

Alora, Philippine standard bearer of the 2017 SEA Games, will go  for her record fourth straight gold in the -73 kg category, and Lopez, fresh from her golden performance in the Korea Open International Championships, loom as the best bet in the individual combat events.  Lopez, from the Ateneo, competed the featherweight gold in the 2015 SEA Games, but will  fight this year in the lightweight category.

The other member of the women’s team Rhezie Aragon (53 kg). 

Paul Samuel Morrison, gold medalist in the -68 kg category now campaigning in the -74kg , is the top campaigner in the men’s side along with Francis Aaron Agojo, silver medalist in the -58 kg in 2015. The other member is Arven Alcantara,  who now takes the slot of Morrison in the -68 category.


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