New Games schedule good for PH taekwondo bets

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From the standpoint of an Olympian like Stephen Fernandez, the postponement of the Tokyo Games was a good call in terms of giving premium to health and safety.

Yet, as a top taekwondo official, he said the decision afforded the Filipino jinns more time to prepare and boost the country’s chances for that elusive gold medal.

“I believe it’s a wise decision given the health crisis,” Fernandez told the Inquirer. “It’s a situation we don’t want to be in.”

Fernandez won bronze in the 1992 Barcelona Games when taekwondo was played as a demonstration sport. He also competed in the 1988 edition in Seoul.

Just like everybody else, he said the country’s preparations for the Olympic qualifiers was affected by the lockdown and enhanced community quarantine.

“This will give us more time especially that the Asian qualifiers are yet to be held,” he said.

The country is hoping to qualify as many as four bets for the Tokyo Olympics. It is building its campaign on four Southeast Asian Games gold medalists.

Kurt Bryan Barbosa (finweight), Dave Cea (lightweight) Samuel Morrison (welterweight) and Pauline Lopez women’s featherweight are among those aspiring for Olympics entry.

The Olympic qualifying for Asia was originally set for April 10-11 in Wuxi, China. Jordan took over the hosting after the outbreak in China, but that, too, was postponed.

The World Taekwondo Federation issued statement that the move to re-schedule the Olympics to next year “will allow the remaining qualification tournaments to take place safely so that athletes are given fair and equal opportunities.”

The Philippines fielded Kirstie Alora during the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The women’s heavyweight campaigner made it to the round-of-16.

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