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Retirement beckons taekwondo stars

Photograph by Ivan Suing for The Daily Tribune | SAMUEL Morrison kisses the SEA Games goodbye with a gold medal in the men’s 87-kilogram class.

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Two veteran jins will go separate ways following their conquests in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games here.

Samuel Morrison and Kirstie Alora admitted that they are planning to retire after collecting gold medals in the biennial meet at the Chroy Changvar Convention Center on Saturday here.

The 33-year-old Morrison said this year’s edition of the meet is already his last, putting an end to a stellar national team career that gave him four SEA Games golds and one Asian Games bronze.

He added that he will just focus on running his own gym in Olongapo City while taking care of his wife, Cheng and son, Luemel Patrick.

“This is my last SEA Games. I’m going to retire after the Asian Games,” Morrison said after storming into the gold medal of the men’s 87-kilogram class.

“I have been contemplating on that decision for three years now. I am thankful to the Philippine Taekwondo Association, Philippine Sports Commission and Philippine Olympic Committee because they chose me to play for the Philippines.”

Retirement also beckons Alora.

The 33-year-old Rio de Janeiro Olympics veteran said she has yet to plot her career move but calling it quits is one of her options.

After all, she had already won four gold and five silver medals in the SEA Games, two bronze medals in the Asian Games, and two bronze medals in the Asian Championships.

Her latest feat is when she ruled the women’s 73-kg event in this year’s edition of the biennial meet.

“Maybe this is my last SEA Games. It depends on the organization, but for me, this is going to be my last,” said Alora, who is now part of the coaching staff of De La Salle University and College of Saint Benilde.

“On joining the Asian Games, it depends on the organization. I still want to try it. I want to play all games this year.”

National head coach Caloy Garcia lauded his wards’ will to represent the country and set an example to future national team members.

“I’m happy they have been good examples to their juniors,” Garcia said.

“We told them to be an inspiration for them because they will imitate you.”

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