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SMART/MVPSF jins vie in world tilt

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PTF Players and coaches of the SMART/MVPSF national taekwondo team pose with Philippine Taekwondo Federation president Rafael Alunan III and Grand Master Hong Sung-chon.

Kurt Bryan Barbosa and Arven Alcantara will have little time to celebrate their golden triumphs in the recent 32nd Southeast Games as they lead the SMART/MVPSF Philippine taekwondo team to the World Taekwondo Championships on 29 May to 4 June in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Toughened by his Tokyo Olympics stint, Barbosa outclassed Thailand’s Ramnarong Saweekwiharee in the men’s -54kg to win the gold while Alcantara gutted out a 2-1 win over another Thai bet in Chaichon Cho in the men’s -68kg.

They accounted for two of the six gold medals won by the team to emerge with the most gold medals. Their feat was later matched by the arnis team.

Other members of the team also backed by the Philippine Sports Commission and Philippine Olympic Committee are Dex Ian Chavez (-58kg), Joseph Chua (-63kg), Dave Cea (-74kg), Veronica Garces (-46kg), Baby Jessica Canabal (-53kg), Nicole Ann Mc Cann (-57kg), and Laila Delo (-67kg).

The Baku event is part of the team’s massive preparation for the Asian Games, Indoor Martial Arts Games, Asian Taekwondo Championships and Chuncheon Korea Taekwondo Championships — all happening this year.

Heading the delegation is Raul Samson while Carlos Jose Padilla and Brix Darmo Ramos will serve as coaches.

Also taking part in the event are favorites Korea, China, Spain, Iran, Turkey, Chinese Taipei and the United States.

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