Filipino taekwondo jin Kurt Barbosa overcame all odds to squeak past home bet Zaid Al-Halawani for his maiden Olympic berth on Saturday, May 22, in the Asian Taekwondo Olympic Qualification Tournament in Amman, Jordan.
The 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold medalist rallied from a 41-26 deficit in the third round to take the lead in the last eight seconds of the match and seal the win at 50-49 in the men’s -58kg event.
Barbosa became the ninth Filipino who will see action in the delayed Tokyo Olympics to be staged from July 23 to August 8.
The reigning UAAP rookie-MVP is also the lone representative of Philippine taekwondo in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
He joins eight other Filipino athletes bound for Tokyo – pole vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Carlos Yulo, boxers Eumir Marcial, Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam, weightlifting star and 2016 Rio Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz, and rower Cris Nievarez.
Kirstie Alora, a 2016 Rio Olympian, fell short of her bid for a second straight Olympic appearance, losing 27-5 to Uzbekistan’s Svetlana Osipova in the outright semifinal of the women’s +67kg event.
Pauline Lopez, a 2019 SEA Games gold medalist, also ended her Olympic qualifying bid in the women’s -57kg quarterfinal after falling to Lebanon’s Laetitia Aoun, 21-10.
On Friday, Arven Alcantara crashed out of the quarterfinals in the men’s -68 kg division. – Rappler.com