Taekwondo jins vow to do better in future meets

Photo caption: Pauline Lopez settles for a silver medal in women’s taekwondo.

KUALA LUMPUR – The Philippine Taekwondo Association (PTA) is setting its sights on future international competitions, including the Asian Games in 2018 and the Olympics in 2020.

National coach Dindo Simpao said they are now concentrating on their next major tournament  — the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) — which will be held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan from Sept. 17 to 27.

Simpao said AIMAG would be a crucial tournament as it gives them a glimpse of how they will perform in the Asian Games in Jakarta next year.

“We don’t have time because the AIMAG and other qualifying events for the World Championships and Olympics are drawing near,” Simpao said.

“Of course, we need to prepare the athletes and keep them in good condition. We have to avoid injuries and prepare for these upcoming tournaments.”

The 12-man taekwondo squad closed its campaign in this prestigious 11-nation conclave with two gold, three silver and three bronze medals as they fell prey to a lot of questionable calls.

Their haul is way lower than their three gold, three silver and two bronze medals finish in the Singapore SEA Games in 2015.

“I think everybody will go back to the national pool to undergo another round of selection process by the federation. Then we, the coaches, will decide on whom to pick per weight category.”

The vaunted squad drew its gold medals from the men’s poomsae squad of Rodolfo Reyes Jr., Dustin Jacob Mella and Raphael Mella as well as Samuel Morrisson, who ruled the men’s -74 kg kyorugi event.

Rio Olympics campaigner Kirstie Elaine Alora settled for silver medal after falling to a perennial foe from Cambodia in the women’s -73 kg kyorugi event as well as Rhezie Aragon in the women’s kyorugi -53 kg and Arven Alcantara, who suffered a controversial setback in the men’s kyorugi -68 kg.

Meanwhile, the women’s poomsae squad of Jocel Lyn Ninobla, Juvenile Faye Crisostomo and Rina Babanta delivered the silver medal as well as Reyes in men’s poomsae individual event and Pauline Lopez in women’s kyorugi -62 kg.