The Philippine national taekwondo team hopes to double its medal production from the previous Southeast Asian Games when the country hosts next month's regional competition.
Sung-Chon Hong, executive officer of the Philippine Taekwondo Association, the sport's national governing body, said he wants his squad to pocket at least 5 gold medals in a Games the country will host.
Hong said his athletes are especially confident because of the consistent government supporting they have received. They are set for a 10-day training in South Korea at the end of the month, before they see action in the Games.
“Although the SEA Games are not about edging out our friend countries, the nation is also looking at how and on how competitive our athletes have become. It is imperative for the (Philippine Sports Commission) to support our athletes as much as it can,” Hong said.
The Philippines brought home 2 gold, 3 silver and 4 bronze medals in the 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.
“I think we can win around five gold medals,” Hong said.
Among the favorites to win their respective events are: Pauline Lopez, Elaine Alora and Butch Morrison, and accomplished men’s poomsae squad of JR Reyes and Dustin and Raphael Mella; and the women’s team of Juvenile Faye Crisostomo, Rinna Babanto and Janna Oliva.
A perennial SEA Games medalist, Lopez made heads turn when she clinched a bronze medal in the 18th Asian Games last year while Alora is a silver medalist in the Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament that served as her ticket to the 2016 Olympics.
Morrison has been ruling the men’s -74-kilogram division of the SEA Games for 4 years, while the poomsae squads are credited a pair of bronze medals in the previous Asian Games.
“Of course, in taekwondo, nothing is definite as a lot of factors are in play. But if you ask me if I’m confident, I can say that, yes, I’m really, really confident. We are ready to compete even if the SEA Games will be held next week,” said Hong.
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