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SEA Games: Confident taekwondo team looks to add to PH's medal haul

by August 25, 2017 General
Samuel Morrison in action during training. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

KUALA LUMPUR — The 12-person Philippine national taekwondo team is in high spirits and ready for battle in the Southeast Asian Games, as the four-day competition begins Saturday at KLCC Hall 1 here.

“We are very much prepared,” national assistant coach Dindo Simpao said. 

The men’s poomsae team event, featuring Dustin Jacob Mella, Raphael Enrico Mella and Rodolfo Reyes Jr., as well as the individual event, represented by Reyes, will kick off the Filipinos’ campaign.

“We are targeting to equal, if not surpass, our 2015 Singapore SEA Games production of 3-3-2 gold-silver-bronze medals,” said Simpao, whose wards participated in the world championships in May and the Korean Open in July both held in South Korea.

In women’s team poomsae, Jocelyn Ninobla, Juvenille Faye Crisostomo and Rinna Babanto look to better their third-place finish in the 2015 SEA Games. Babanto, who won silver in the individual event two years ago in Singapore, returns as the team’s representative.

Eyes will be also on the men’s and women’s kyorugi individual events, with Samuel Morrison, gold medalist in the 68-kilogram division in the 2015 SEA Games, now campaigning in the 74-kilogram class. 

Also on the team are Arven Alcantara (68 kilograms) and 2017 Korea Open gold medalist Pauline Lopez (62 kilograms). 

Meanwhile, Rhezie Aragon (53 kilograms) will take the floor on Monday, while Olympian and SEA Games flag bearer Kirstie Elaine Alora (73 kilograms) and Francis Aaron Agojo (58 kilograms) hit the mat on Tuesday.

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)