April 23, 2024

■  Ofelia C. Empian

Abra’s taekwondo pride Kurt Barbosa has vowed to come back stronger after he failed to secure a slot for the Paris Olympics when he suffered defeat in the semifinals of the 2024 Taekwondo Asian Qualification Tournament in China. 

Barbosa was a win away but was stopped short by Kazakhstan’s Samirkhon Ababakirov, 2-0, in the men’s under 58-kilogram semifinals on March 16 in Tai’an City. 

GRACIOUS IN DEFEAT — Philippine taekwondo pride Kurt Barbosa, 24, of Bangued, Abra remains optimistic he will compete in the future Summer Games after he failed to advance in the 2024 Paris Olympics. He, however, won a bronze medal in his match against Riad Hamdi of Saudi Arabia in the 2024 Asian Taekwondo Olympic Qualification Tournament in Tai’an City, China. — Contributed photos

Despite this, he brought home a bronze medal after defeating Riad Hamdi of Saudi Arabia. 

He said it is an honor to represent the country and share the stage with the best athletes in Asia. 

“I fell short in the qualifying, one more win would have given me the ticket to Paris. But I know God has a better plan. I will never give up,” Barbosa said in his Facebook post. 

Three other taekwondo jins also fell short in their respective categories during the same qualifying match including Tachiana Mangin, Jessica Canabal, and Arven Alcantara. 

Mangin and Canabal both reached the semifinals but were unsuccessful against their last opponent. Canabal also won her bronze medal against Cambodia’s Julie Mam. 

Alcantara, meanwhile, exited the games in the quarterfinals following a 2-1 defeat against Ali Reza Abbasi of the Refugee Olympic Team in the under 68-kg.  

Only the top two athletes from each of the eight weight divisions – four for men and four for women – qualified for Paris.

This will be the first time since the 2012 London Games that the Philippines will not be represented in Olympic taekwondo. 

Barbosa joined the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 while retired jin Kirstie Alora represented the country in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.