GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Two out, four to go.
The SMART/MVP Sports Foundation Philippine Taekwondo Team campaign here absorbed yet another blow as international newbie Alfritz Arevalo dropped a 0-2 beating in the Round-of-64 in the 2022 World Taekwondo Championship on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) at the Centro Acuatico CODE Metropolitano.
Although a first timer in World stage, Arevalo fought like a man on a mission showing strength and courage for four grueling minutes, but experience prevails in the end as his veteran rival pulled off some body shots to score.
“Before the match, may kaba talaga ma-overwhelmed ka sa set-up ng stage feeling mo ikaw lang ang pinapanood. But as the fight started ok na ang pakiramdam ko. Maraming chances na makaiskor pero di ko na-execute ng tama. I think the experience really play a lot in this kind of competition,” said the 24-year-old Marketing graduate out of San Beda College.
“Ganito pala ang stage ng World Championship, now I knew, and I think I learn a lot from this experience. I continued my training program and prepared my self for the coming team selection for next year’s competitions,” added Arevalo.
The loss was the second for the six-man delegation following a similar 0-2 beating of Southeast Asian Games multi-medalist Laila Delo to Germany’s Vanessa Koerndl in the second day of top-tier action in the pandemic-delayed tournament on Tuesday.
Next for the Filipinos is Southeast Asian Games veteran Dave Cea against Japanese Yasahuro Hamada in the men’s -74kgs on Thursday (Friday in Manila). Joseph Chua meets Niko Saarinen of Finland in the men’s -63kg while Baby Jessica Canaba crosses paths with Bulgarian Selen Gunduz in women’s -43kgs are scheduled to fight on Friday (Saturday in Manila).
Tokyo Olympics veteran Kurt Bryan Barbosa closes the Philippine Team campaign here supported by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) as he faces Sanoh Lancery of the Republic of Guinea.
“Dark horse sa team sina Dave (Cea) and Baby (Canaba). I’m still confident that the team can still pull off some surprises with the experiences of Joseph (Chua) and Kurt (Barbosa),” said team manager Rocky Samson.
In Day 3, hometown favorite Daniela Paola Souza delivered the second gold medal for Mexico, beating Chinese Qing Guo, 2-1; while Do-yun Kwon of Korea dethroned defending champion Bradly Sinden of Great Britain , 2-1, in the men’s -68kgs.