Former senator and head of delegation Anna Dominique ‘Nikki’ Coseteng (center) poses with members of the Philippine Taekwondo Team set to participate in the 2022 World Taekwondo Championship in Guadalajara, Mexico. The team is composed of (from left) coach Paul Romero, Dave Cea, Laila Delo, Baby Jessica Canabal, Raul Samson (Team Manager) Olympian Kurt Bryan Barbosa, Joseph Chua, Alfritz Arevalo, and coach Carlos Jose Padilla.
MANILA — Tokyo Olympics veteran Kurt Bryan Barbosa will lead the eight-man SMART/MVP Sports Foundation Philippine Taekwondo Team vying for pride and glory against the best and toughest fighter in the world in the 2022 World Taekwondo Championships slated November 13-20 in Guadalajara, Mexico.
The pride of National University and one-time Most Valuable Player in the UAAP Season 81, Barbosa, the first Filipino taekwondo jin who made it to the pandemic-delayed Olympics in Japan last year since Tshomlee Go in the 2008 edition, will try to rebound from a failed bid on his first World stint armed with much better preparations and experiences.
“Naghanda po kami ng todo para dito. Halos dalawang buwan din po kaming nagtraining sa Korea para mabawi yung dalawang taong pahinga dahil sa pandemic. Babawi po ako dito,” said the 22-year-old who failed on his mission in 2019 edition when he lost in his Round of 64 match in the men’s finweight class.
Joining him in this prestigious competition participated in by more than 100 countries such as top contender Korea, China, Spain, Iran, Turkey, Chinese Taipei, and the USA, are fellow 2018 Manila Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Dave Cea (-74kg), Laila Delo (-67kg), Baby Jessica Canabal (-53kg), Joseph Chua (63kg), and Alfritz Arevalo (-68kg). Raul Romero and Carlos Jose Padilla will be the coach, Raul Samson is the team manager and former Senator Anna Dominique ‘Nikki’ Coseteng is the Head of Delegation.
“This tournament is important for our athletes as they trying to earn many points to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics. Nakaprograma na sa amin yung mga tournaments na malatutulong sa atin pagdating sa point system, as much as possible we have to join on this competition next year,” said Samson.
The Philippines is always regarded among the top contenders in this event. The competition also serves as a tune-up for the National Team’s preparation for next year’s Asian Games in China, SEA Games in Cambodia, Indoor Martial Arts Games, Asian Championships, and the next edition of the World Taekwondo Championships.
The team’s participation is also supported by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).