The Philippine taekwondo team suffered an early blow in the Asian Qualification Tournament to the Tokyo Olympics Friday, May 21, after Arven Alcantara was dealt a first-round defeat in Amman, Jordan.
Seeking one of the two berths at stake in the men’s -68kgs division, Alcantara succumbed to Uzbekistan’s Ulugbek Rashitov, 23-9, in the opening round of the two-day affair.
The Filipino silver medalist at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games recovered from a 3-0 deficit to lead 5-4 after two rounds until the Uzbek fighter quickly became more aggressive.
Three more Filipinos are still in the hunt for the Olympic berth with Pauline Lopez, Kurt Barbosa and 2016 Rio Olympian Elaine Alora seeing action Saturday, May 22.
Lopez and Barbosa, both gold medalists at the 2019 SEAG, will compete in the women’s -56kgs and men’s -58kgs, while Alora will see action in the women’s +67kgs division.
The top 2 athletes in each weight class will earn Olympic berths.