THE Philippines won four golds, eight silvers, and 12 bronzes in the recent 2015 Karate Thailand Open in Bangkok, Thailand.
Mae Soriano, a bronze medalist in last year’s the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, Korea, ruled the -55kg kumite to lead the country’s gold medal winners and placed fifth overall in the 30-team field.
Also winning golds were Chole Bernadette Limson (Under-12 kumite +38kg), Lance Gabriel Villafene (Under-12 kumite +43kg), and Jaspher Fontillas (cadet kumite -70kg).
Limson also won silver in the Under-12 kata female division, along with OJ Delos Santos (seniors kata), Marvin Pinpin (junior kumite - 55kg boys), Jaime Villegas (cadet kata boys), Czarina Napa (Under-12 kumite -43Kg), Mark Andrei Barrientos (Under-14 kumite -48 kg), Randy Padua (cadet kumite +70kg), and Narayana Mesina (Under-14 kumite +48 kg).
Soriano and Delos Santos wore their respective medals when they appeared in the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at Shakey’s Malate on Tuesday, where they were accompanied by Philippine Karatedo Federation (PKF) secretary-general Raymond Lee Reyes and Iranian coach Ali Parvinfar.
The bronze winners are John Enrico Vasquez (cadet kata male), Ivanna Cablao (cadet female -54 kg kumite), Timothy Yu (Under-12 kumite +43kg), Lopez River (Under-12 kata female), Gian Valencia (junior kumite -68 kg), Chris Kawaen (cadet kumite -61Kg), Joco Vasquez (cadet kumite -52kg), Gilbert Arellano (cadet kumite -52kg), Angeligue Aguilar (kumite -53 kg), Alexis Nunez (juniors kumite -55kg), Rita Cuadra (kata Under-14), and Joanna Ylanan (kumite female -64kg).
Twenty-one countries won at least a medal in the competition with Indonesia (12-5-16 gold-silver-bronze), and Thailand (11-15-33) emerging champion and runner-up, respectively.
Parvinfar, who’s been the national coach of the karate team for three years now, said Delos Santos and Soriano 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 Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, the karate team’s 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.