Pinoy jins to go all out in chase of Olympic dream

Joey Villar - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine taekwondo team will try to ride on its successful performance in the Southeast Asian Games last December as it goes all out to earn spots in the Tokyo Olympics.

Taekwondo was one of the most productive spots for the Philippines in the 30th SEAG, raking in an impressive haul of eight gold, nine silver and four bronze medals to emerge No. 1 in the sport while helping the host country romp away with its second overall crown in the history of the biennial meet.

Interestingly, half of the gold harvest came in kyorugi, which are all in the Tokyo calendar.

Finweight Kurt Bryan Barbosa, light Dave Cea, welter Samuel Morison and feather Pauline Lopez could be bright hopes to make the Olympic proper.

“They’re the athletes who shone the brightest during the SEAG,” said national head coach Dindo Simpao.

Also expected to vie for Tokyo spots are SEAG silver medal winners Arven Alcantara (feather), Kristopher Uy (heavy), Rheza Aragon (fly), Laila Delo (welter) and Kirstie Alora (heavy), a 2016 Rio Games veteran, and bronze medalists Dex Ian Chavez (fly), Kurt Pajuelas (bantam), Veronica Graces (pin), and Baby Jessica Canabal (bantam).

The Asian Qualifying is set in April in Wuxi, China where the top two in each category in the regional continental tournament make the Tokyo Games.

“The PTA (Philippine Taekwondo Association) is keenly studying our options as to who will we send in the qualifiers,” said Simpao. “Those being considered, of course, are those who performed well in the different events preceding the qualifiers.”

Actually, an aspirant can clinch an outright Olympic seat if he or she makes the Top Six in the world rankings. Those who don’t will have to qualify through the regional competitions including Wuxi.




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