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Future of Philippine karate seen

Three kids from San Jose del Monte, Bulacan are springing into karate action in the hopes of becoming future stars and bring home honor and prestige for the country in the discipline.

Steven Jhudiel Morales, Solara Uriel Morales and Zemira Zaigen Gawad Daz – who are all eyeing to become karate stars someday – are now starting at the grassroots, a new breed of potential talents raring to excel on local to international tournaments.

They are member of the prestigious International Shotokan Karate Federation-Philippine Shotokan Karate Federation-San Jose Del Monte Bulacan — one of the active clubs affiliated with the Karate Pilipinas.

“They really wanted to follow the footsteps of our Sensei Adora Aquino, a former national team karate member,” said Mary Anne Guillermo, a Karate Pilipinas licensed coach.

Twelve-year-old Steven Jhudiel Morales is one of the most accomplished young fighters of the ISKF-PSKI SJDM Bulacan as he recently clinched gold at the Karate Pilipinas National Championships kata and kumite category in the tournament held at the Mall of Asia Arena.

He also dominated the kumite and kata division of the ISKF-PSKI Olongapo Karatedo Championships last June and the 3rd ABR Cup Karate Championships Intermediate Kata, where he won the gold in the 12-13-year-old and 14-15-year-old boys divisions.

Eight-year-old Solara, on the other hand, won the recent kata girls’ division gold medal in the 3rd ABR Cup Karate Championships and also bagged the silver in the team kata and in the kumite and a bronze in the team kumite.

Meantime, eight-year-old Zemira Zaigen Gawad Daz captured the silver medal in the kata 6-7-year-old division of ISKF-PSKI Olongapo Invitational Karatedo Championships also last June.

She also took home the team and individual kata silver medals and individual kumite silver during the 3rd ABR Cup Karate Championships recently.

“These kids will grow with a lot of potentials to become the next Junna Tsukii and possibly become world champions someday so who knows? At young age, they really showed great improvements from time to time,” Guillermo said.

“With proper trainings and mindset, their dream to become national team members and bring pride to our country will soon come to realization soon. They just have to be supported by their respective parents too,” she added.

Other club members are 13-year-old Nicel Ezra Villegas and 14-year-old Julia Claret Bintulan, who also brought home a lot of different kata and kumite medals from the Batang Pinoy national competitions in 2018 and 2019.

The campaign of the ISKF-PSKI SJD is supported by the local government unit headed by City Mayor Arthur Robes, Dr. Dennis Booth and Luis Gutierrez.

“They are really supportive to the campaign and karate journey of our athletes. They are providing us with vehicles so we can go to the venue,” said Guillermo, adding that they need WKF-approved protective gears for their athletes.

“We are hoping to get a set of protective gear for our athletes that they can be used in the competition. It’s very expensive and some parents can’t afford to buy.”

Guillermo also lauded the efforts of ISKF-PSKI SJDM Bulacan instructor PSMS Adora Aquino for encouraging their athletes to believe in themselves and teaching the way of karate to achieve success.

Aquino was a former member of the Philippine National Team, a kumite bronze medalist in the 2003 Vietnam Southeast Asian Games and 2019 World Police and Fire Games double gold medalist in Chengdu, China.

She is an active member of Karate Pilipinas technical official.

“We would like to thank all the parents, ISKF Chairman Bong Mojica and PSKI Head Shihan Rommel Raymundo for supporting us.”

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