Pinoys top taekwondo with 8 golds

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    FIRST time proved to be a charm for taekwondo jin Kurt Bryan Barbosa of the Philippines last night.

    Saving the day for Pinoy jins two days before the curtains fall on the 30th Southeast Asian Games, Barbosa outclassed Reinaldy Atmanegara of Indonesia 26-10 to bag the gold in the men’s under-54 kilograms (finweight) category at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

    Barbosa, 20, dominated his Indon foe, hardly meeting resistance on his way to a rousing debut in the Games.

    “Sobrang pinaghandaan ko po talaga kasi iyong mga kalaban ko nakalaban ko na before,” said Barbosa, last season’s UAAP Rookie of the Year and MVP winner from National University.

    “Mas pinaghandaan ko sila kasi alam kong naghahanda sila, so the more na naghahanda sila, the more na handa ako,” added Barbosa, who is bidding to earn a slot in next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

    Rheza Aragon failed to match Barbosa’s feat, setting for the silver after absorbing a crushing 2-35 loss to Thailand’s Panipak Wongphattanakit in the women’s under-49kg (fly) final.

    Settling for bronze medals in the final day of taekwondo competitions were Veronica Garces (women’s under-46kg fin), Dex Chavez (men’s under-58kg fly), Kurt Pajuelas (men’s under-63kg bantam) and Jessica Canabal (women’s under-53kg bantam).

    The taekwondo team wound up with eight gold, nine silver and four bronze medals, improving on its 2-3-4 haul in the 2017 edition of the regional sports spectacle in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

    Four mints came from poomsae and the remaining three were won by Pauline Louise Lopez, Samuel Morrison, and Kristopher Robert Uy in kyorugi last Sunday. “Gustong-gusto ko po talagang makapag-Olympics,” said Barbosa, an Abra province native. “Actually, iyon po ang goal naming lahat sa Philippine taekwondo.”

    Rodolfo Reyes Jr. of Dasmarinas, Cavite emerged as the most bemedalled Filipino jin with two gold medals – the individual gold in the men’s poomsae recognized event and the gold in the men’s poomsae recognized team competition along with Dustin Jacob Mella and Raphael Enrico Mella.

    The other gold medalists for the Philippines were Jeordan Dominguez in men’s
    poomsae freestyle, Jocel Lyn Ninobla in the women’s poomsae recognized individual, Dave Cea in men’s kyorugi 74kg, Samuel Morrison in men’s kyorugi 80kg and Pauline Lopez in women’s kyorugi 57kg.