Karate squad training in Istanbul

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    LOS Angeles-based Fil-Am Joane Orbon has joined the country’s other karate Olympic hopefuls who have begun training in Instanbul, Turkey, according to karate chief Ricky Lim.

    “Orbon has joined us here and she has started to take part in our twice-a-day training,” said Lim, who left with the squad last week for the Turkish capital to step up their buildup for the world Olympic qualifiers in Paris, France in June.

    Orbon joined 30th Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Jaimie Lim, Jason Macaalay, Alwin Bagtican, and Ivan Agustin, who trained at the Inspire Academy in Calamba, Laguna funded by the Philippine Sports Commission, before going to the Turkish capital.

    Overseeing the workouts is Turkish mentor Okay Arpa, the architect of the country’s haul of two gold, one silver and nine bronze medals in the SEA Games hosted by the country two years ago.

    Lim, the Karate Pilipinas Sports Foundation, Inc. president, said the team was joined from time to time by two Turkish European champions, adding the national karatekas were able to work out with other members of the Turkish national team.

    He said Filipino-Japanese Junna Tsukii , the other gold medal winner in the 30th SEA Games, is set to join the team in May after competing in the World Karate Federation’s Premier League tournament in Lisbon, Portugal late next month.

    The Premier League series is one way where karate Olympic aspirants can qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games in July by earning Olympic ranking points.