MANILA – The Philippine Karatedo Federation (PKF) prefers to keep its cards close to its chest as far as its preparations for Southeast (SEA) Games are concerned.
PKF secretary general Raymund Reyes on Tuesday noted their ASEAN counterparts are keeping tabs on Filipino karatekas to “avoid surprises” in the biennial meet.
This is why the PKF is prioritize having their karatekas go through training camps instead of fielding them in international competitions.
“Nakuwento ko nga dati tulad ni Mae Soriano inii-scout nila. Sabi ko sa kanila hindi siya female,” quipped Reyes at the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at the Golden Phoenix Hotel in Pasay City.
Soriano, who won silver in the 2013 Myanmar SEA Games, is among the country’s strongest candidates in the 2017 Games in Kuala Lumpur.
Reyes added that the athletes would get more exposure in training camps where karatekas from other countries compete. This is not the case when it comes to fielding athletes in tournaments ahead of the games.
“’Pag sumali ka agad sa malaking tournament, 'pag natalo ka tapos na. Wala nang pupuntahan, sayang ang punta mo. Isang beses lang ang laban. Pero in training camp, makakapag-train kayo, lalaban kayo at mababalikan mo pa ang kalaban mo,” he explained.
Reyes said Soriano improved her karate skills using the same formula.
“Si Mae Soriano nung nagpunta kami ng Turkey, natalo siya ng bronze medalist sa camp. E ilang beses silang naglaban, so natutunan niya ang makakalaban niya. So nung Asian Games natalo niya 'yung same rival,” he said.
“Ang point namin, dahan-dahan lang siya pero eventually makukuha mo.”
Just recently, the Philippine karatekas had a strong showing at the Thailand Open where they won two gold medals, seven silvers and 14 bronzes. This was a vast improvement from their last year two golds, a silver and seven bronzes last year.
Reyes said they are targetting at least two gold medals in the SEA Games this August, where they expect strong opposition from Malaysia and Thailand.
Reyes said they plan to send their athletes to a two-week training camp in Japan sometime in July.
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.