HANGZHOU, China — Prized jins Kirstie Elaine Alora and Samuel Morrison penned a sorry, heartbreaking ending to their respective athletic careers.
Alora and Morrison, who have a total of eight Southeast Asian Games gold medals between them, formally announced their retirements after bombing out in the taekwondo competition of the 19th Asian Games at the Lin’an Sports Culture & Exhibition Centre here.
Alora bowed to Anahita Tavakoli of Iran in the Round of 16 of the women’s +67-kilogram event while Morrison surrendered to Arian Salimi of Iran in the Round of 16 of the men’s +80-kg class to put an end to their respective Asian Games campaigns.
It, however, turned out to be their last hurrah as they announced that they will be retiring from donning the national jersey in major international competitions.
“It’s sad because it’s going to be my last Asian Games. I am retiring after this,” said the 33-year-old former Olympian in an interview with One Sports.
She said even if she’s already out of the national team, she still wants to serve as an inspiration for her younger teammates and other Filipino athletes.
“Of course, I want to be an inspiration for my other teammates and to those who will join the national team,” she said.
“Just do your best and always think that what you’re doing is for the country. Just train hard and don’t quit.”
Morrison also expressed his gratitude to those who helped him in his journey in the national team, especially the Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Taekwondo Federation.
“I feel pretty satisfied with how my career turned out,” said the 6-foot-1 Morrison who capped his SEA Games campaign with a gold medal in Cambodia last May.
“I love this sport because this is where I grew up. This sport gave me a fighting chance in life. It helped me become a good example to our countrymen.”
Morrison said he may have failed to close his athletic career with an Asian Games medal hanging around his neck but he is still grateful to those who helped him realize his childhood dream of playing for the country.
“This is my last competition and, unfortunately, we were not successful,” he said.
“Still, I am thankful to the POC and the PSC for giving me a chance to compete for the country.”