In year of transition, Joane Orbon considers SEA Games stint ‘stepping stone’

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 08 2019 08:01 PM

Joane Orbon, who used to represent the US in international competition, says she's "proud" to play for the Philippines. Courtesy of Joane Orbon

MANILA, Philippines—Her first time to compete for the Philippines did not go as planned for karateka Joane Orbon.

Orbon, who switched federations from the United States to the Philippines earlier this year, was favored in the women's -61 kg kumite, but she lost in the semifinals to Malaysia's Mathivani Murugeesan at the World Trade Center Sunday.

To make matters worse, Orbon suffered an arm injury during the match and had to wear her right arm in a sling for the rest of the day.

"Well, I haven't been on the mat for about 10 months now, and this is just a stepping stone for myself," said the 25-year-old Orbon, who formally joined the Philippine team in November.

"I already know the areas I need to improve on, so from here it's just progress and working my way back to where I was."

Orbon was at the center of a doping issue earlier in the year, when she tested positive for di-hydroxy-LGD-4033. She was given a nine-month ban dating from February 12, but the ban was lifted in September after she convinced USADA that the dietary supplement she was taking may have been contaminated.

The Fil-Am karateka, who was born in San Jose, Calif., settled for a bronze medal in her first SEA Games but is already looking forward to representing the Philippines in more events in the coming months.

"No regrets at all," Orbon said of her switch in federations. "I'm more than proud to be here and represent the Philippines."

She will compete in the Karate-1 Premier League next year, and will try to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics via a last chance qualifier.

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2019 SEA Games