June 17, 2024

Cordillera’s taekwondo pride Kurt Barbosa is hopeful he will secure an Olympics berth in Tokyo, Japan, as he joined five members of the Philippine Taekwondo Team in a training camp in Calamba, Laguna.
The 21-year-old Barbosa of Bangued, Abra has been invited to take part in a three-month training bubble at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba along with Arven Alcantara, Butch Morrison, Pauline Lopez, and Kirstie Alora, who competed at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Of the five members of the national team, only four will be chosen, as the country is limited to a maximum of four taekwondo athletes for the Tokyo Olympics.
The Tokyo Olympics originally set last year will be on July 23 to Aug. 8.
Philippine Taekwondo Association (PTA) secretary general Rocky Samson recently reported that three sparring partners will join the five athletes in the bubble, as well as coaches Caloy Padilla, Luis de Mesa, and Al Christian de la Cruz.
The PTA is hopeful the athletes will be ready by the third week of March for the Olympics qualifying in Amman, Jordan. The Asian qualifier in Amman has no exact date yet as it was moved from Wuxi, China to the Jordan’s capital last year due to the pandemic before it was indefinitely postponed.
An elite varsity player of National University (NU), Barbosa has been competing in national and international taekwondo kyorugi tournaments, winning medals for the region and the country and making him one of elite members of the Philippine team.
Barbosa clinched the gold medal in the -54 kilograms during the 2019 Southeast Asian Games hosted by Manila after dominating his Indonesian opponent.
In 2018, Barbosa was conferred the Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 81 for delivering back-to-back titles for NU that year. – Harley F. Palangchao