The Philippine Taekwondo team is plotting a major rally when the country hosts the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
Philippine Taekwondo Association (PTA) Executive officer Sung-Chon Hong disclosed yesterday that his wards are looking at winning at least five gold medals in the prestigious biennial meet set from November 30 to December 11 at the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac.
Hong said that his athletes are prepared and in high morale following the all-out support by the federation and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
In line with this, they are set to embark on a 10-day training in South Korea by the end of October.
“This training by the taekwondo jins, supported by the PSC, is our push towards our aim to winning the medals in the SEA Games,” PSC Chairman William Ramirez said.
“Although the SEA Games are not about edging out our friend countries, the nation is also looking at how and on how competitive our athletes have become. It is imperative for the PSC to support our athletes as much as it can,” he added.
Hong, whose wards settled for only two gold, three silver and four bronze medals in the previous SEA Games assured a better performance for this upcoming biennial meet.
“I think we can win around five gold medals,” Hong stated.
The PTA executive refused to identify the sure gold-medal winners, but mentioned the names of Pauline Lopez, Elaine Alora and Butch Morrison, as well as the decorated men’s poomsae squad of JR Reyes and Dustin and Raphael Mella and women’s team of Juvenile Faye Crisostomo, Rinna Babanto and Janna Oliva.
A perennial SEA Games medalist, Lopez made heads turn when she clinched a bronze medal in the 18th Asian Games last year while Alora is a silver medalist in the Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament that served as her golden ticket to the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Morrison has been ruling the men’s -74kg division of the SEA Games for four years while the poomsae squads are credited a pair of bronze medals in the previous Asian Games.
“Of course, in taekwondo, nothing is definite as a lot of factors are in play. But if you ask me if I’m confident, I can say that yes, I’m really, really confident. We are ready to compete even if the SEA Games will be held next week,” said Hong.
PSC chairman and Chef de mission William Ramirez said they are pouring their all-out support to taekwondo since it is a medal-rich sport where the Filipinos have a good chance of winning.
This will be the team’s bid to bounce back from a dismal 2017 SEA Games performance in Kuala Lumpur.