Philippine Olympic team

Barbosa, Petecio drawn against tough foes in Tokyo Olympics

Beatrice Go

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Barbosa, Petecio drawn against tough foes in Tokyo Olympics

UPHILL CLIMB. Nesthy Petecio (left) and Kurt Barbosa open the combat sports campaigns.

Beatrice Go/Rappler (Petecio), Philippine Taekwondo Association (Barbosa)

World champion boxer Nesthy Petecio and taekwondo jin Kurt Barbosa aim to open their Olympic campaign with upset wins

Women’s boxing world champion Nesthy Petecio and taekwondo jin Kurt Barbosa face an uphill climb early in their Olympic debut.

Both athletes will open the Philippines’ Tokyo 2020 Olympics campaign on Saturday, July 24.

Petecio is pitted against Congo’s Marcelat Sakobi Matshu in the round of 32 of the women’s featherweight event at 10 am, Philippine time, while Barbosa will face Olympics’ No. 1-ranked taekwondo jin Jang Jun of South Korea in the men’s -58kg round of 16 at 10:52 am, Philippine time.

Though Petecio still has a chance over Sakobi Matshu with her solid track record of excelling in the featherweight division, the event’s top-seeded boxer Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yi-Tung awaits her in the round of 16.

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South Korea’s Jang, on the other hand, clearly has the advantage over Barbosa after dominating the 2019 world championships in Manchester and the 2018 Asian Championships.

Jang also copped four No. 1 titles in the Grand Prix – winning three golds in 2019 and one in 2018.

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Carlo Paalam will also be facing 2016 Rio Olympian Brendan Irvine of Ireland in the men’s flyweight event’s round of 32 on Monday, July 26, 11:03 am, Philippine time.

Irish Magno, the first Filipina boxer to qualify for the Olympics, is slated to go against Kenya’s Christine Ongare, who secured a Tokyo 2020 ticket when she won the bronze in the Africa Olympic qualifiers in the women’s flyweight event.

Magno and Ongare will tangle on Tuesday in the round of 32 of the women’s flyweight division on Tuesday, July 27, 10:15 am, Philippine time.

Philippine boxing star Eumir Marcial, on the other hand, was awarded a bye that puts him in the men’s middleweight’s round of 16 on Wednesday, July 28, at 10:48 am, Philippine time.

Judoka Kiyomi Watanabe, who will carry the flag with Marcial during the opening ceremonies, will go head-to-head with Spain’s Cristina Cabana Perez in the women’s -63kg round of 32 on Tuesday, July 27. –

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Beatrice Go

More commonly known as Bee, Beatrice Go is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Philippine sports governance, national teams, football, and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.