PHI karatedo team in early preparation for 2017 SEA Games
ABS-CBN Sports on Aug 04, 2015 06:01 PM
Thailand Open gold medal winner Mae Soriano and silver medalist OJ Delos Santos.
The four gold medals the Philippine karatedo team won in the recent Thailand Open hopefully translates to success when the sport returns to the Southeast Asian Games calendar of events two years from now.
Veteran Mae Soriano led the Filipinos’ golden feat, with the three others coming from the team’s junior side, assuring the Philippine Karatedo Federation (PKF) of possible potential gold medalists in the 2017 edition of the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Karate was not part of this year’s SEA Games in Singapore.
“We’re targeting Malaysia (SEA Games),” said Philippine Karatedo Federation (PKF) secretary-general Raymond Lee on Tuesday in the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at Shakey’s Malate. “We hope to at least win three gold medals in Kuala Lumpur.”
Karate’s absence in the SEA Games this year prompted the team, which is handled by Iranian coach Ali Parvinfar, to see action in the Thailand Open, where aside from the four golds, the Filipinos also took home eight silver and 12 bronze medals to finish fifth overall in the 30-country field.
OJ Delos Santos, the 25-year-old advertising management student from De La Salle University, accounted for one of the team’s silver medals, which he was wearing when he appeared with Soriano, Lee, and Parvinfar in the session.
Parvinfar, who’s been the national coach of the karate team for three years now, said Delos Santos and Soriano, a bronze medal winner in last year’s Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, both have the potential to be the best so long as they keep competing in international tournaments such as the ones they joined in Thailand.
“Competing in tournaments and constant exposure are very important for us,” he said.
After Thailand, Lee said the national team is eyeing to see action in the Japan Open and the Indonesia Open by September, while plans to train in Iran and Turkey are likewise being set.
Other than the 2017 SEA Games, the preparations are also in line up with the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia, and hopefully, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where karate is strongly lobbying for inclusion.
“All of these trainings are geared up for the Tokyo Olympics. Sana nga makasama na ang karate sa Olympics,” said Lee.