Make way for the ‘Li’l Panda.’
Six-year old Atsuko Kaiyel Tan, the smallest member of the Philippine delegation, stood tallest in winning the gold in the advanced kata even of the 6-7 year old category in the 3rd Malaysia Mayor’s Cup Karate Championships in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Sunday.
The diminutive Tan, daughter of Association for the Advancement of Karatedo (AAK) Davao manager Rommel ‘Kung Fu Panda’ Tan, impressed the judges with her routine and bested a Malaysian foe in the finals of the tough field composed of eight participants.
“It was not easy. We came here worried about Kaiyel’s sister Yuki who is still in the hospital. But she was really determined,” said the father-coach in an online interview. “As a father and coach, I am proud of her achievement.”
The Davao Christian School standout Tan now has three international gold medals to her name after winning the 2015 and 2016 Milo Malaysia Cup kata gold medals. She was also Davao’s 2016 So Kim Cheng Athlete of the Year Awardee.
Team AAK Philippines finished with six golds, six silvers and five bronze medals in the tournament. The other Pinoy gold medalists in the kumite competitions are Paolo Gorospe, Joan Lumbao, and Renzel Asistido. Winning silvers are Mathee Lazo, Adam Bondoc, Oliver Mañalac, and Johan Cancela while Bash Mañalac and Fiona Grande finished with bronze medals.
For kata, the other gold medalists are Lazo and Gorospe. Lumbao and Asistido won silver while Bondoc, Grande and Daniel Cancela took home bronze.
The tournament attracted 13 countries and a total of 45 clubs and 450 entries.