A TEAM of young and promising karatekas led by Southeast Asian Games silver medalists Ramon Nino Franco, Rexor Romaquin and James delos Santos, will represent the country in the World Karatedo Federation Karate Cup Open from August 17 to 22 in Busan, South Korea.
“We want to build up on our modest gains in last year’s Indonesia SEA Games so we are sending a young squad to compete in the WKF Karate Cup Open in Korea,” said Philippine Karate Federation secretary-general Raymund Lee Reyes in the weekly PSA forum.
Franco, Romaquin and Delos Santos, all in their early twenties, were members of the national team that won the team kata silver medal in the Indonesia Games and will spearhead the 21-man squad to the international competition featuring top karatekas from 100 countries.
Joining Reyes in the session was Iranian coach Ali Parvifar, a sixth dan blackbelt, who said “while we know that the field will be strong in Korea, I’m certain that the Filipinos will do their utmost best to bring honor to the country.”
Among the up and coming karatekas joining the national squad dubbed the “Philippine Typhoons,” is Filipino-Jordanan Sharif Afif, a gold medalist in the last POC-PSC Philippine National Games who will be vying in the men’s -84-kilogram division in kumite (sparring).
“It is a great honor for me to represent the country for the first time in international competition. I have been training hard for this tournament the last three months and want to make my mark in Korea,” said Afif, a 19-year-old Tourism sophomore at Letran.
The other team members are Rondolf Maraggun (men’s -67-kg. kumite), Princess Joanne Ylanan (women’s -65-kg. kumite), Princess Sicangco (-61-kg. kumite), Mary Antoinette Ailes (-60-kg. kumite) and Gay Mabel Arevalo (-55-kg. kumite).
Competing in the cadet (children’s) division are Bryan Fontillas, Charles Bonaqgua, Mark Andrew Manantan, John Marc Claveria, Kristelle Ira Zabala and Alexander Lay, son of national coach David Lay.