PTA hopes Olympic qualifiers resume as PH jins continue training

Published July 9, 2020, 2:54 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

Pauline Lopez 081219_SEAG-TAEKWONDO-PAULINE-LOPEZ_08_riodeluvio-copy-Copy
In this file photo, Filipina jin Pauline Lopez carries the Philippine flag after defeating Cambodia’s Aliza Chhoueng to bag the gold medal in women’s taekwondo featherweight finals at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium last December. (MB File Photo)

The Philippine Taekwondo Association (PTA) continues to monitor its grassroots and elite programs despite training limitations due to the coronavirus pandemic.

PTA grassroots head director Stephen Fernandez said they are using online platform to provide training for their athletes in that level.

National team coaches are also rigorously monitoring elite athletes who are training on their own as they prepare for the Asian Olympic qualifier rescheduled in the first quarter of 2021.

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The Asian Qualifier for the Tokyo Olympics was originally scheduled in April in Wuxi, China, but was reset last June in Amman, Jordan. But since the pandemic has not yet been contained, the World Taekwondo Federation postponed it again to a still unspecified date next year.

“We’re hoping na matuloy pa rin ang (Olympic) qualifying. That’s why our athletes still continue with their training,” Fernandez said.

Only Asia and Europe have yet to host a qualification tournament after African, Oceania and Pan American qualification events were held early this year prior to the virus outbreak.

Each country can send a maximum of two male and two female athletes in the qualifier. So far, the PTA has five in the elite training pool: Pauline Lopez, Elaine Alora, Arven Alcantara, Samuel Morrison and Kurt Barbosa.

The PTA can only hope that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases will approve the recommendation of the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee to allow Tokyo Olympians, as well as those with high chances of qualifying to the Games, to train in approved facilities.