THE Philippine karate team is eyeing at least two gold medals in the Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar later this year.
And as part of its build up, the Philippine Karatedo Federation is bringing here the second edition of the Southeast Asian Karatedo Championships to be held at Fontana Hot Springs and Leisure Parks inside Clark Freeport Zone in Angeles City, Pampanga from April 17-21.
“We will use the competition not only as part of our national team tryouts but also to scout our opposition at the Myanmar SEA Games,” said PKF secretary general Raymund Lee Reyes in the weekly PSA Forum at Shakey’s Malate.
Expected to see action in the competition will be over 200 athletes from the 11 member countries comprising the SEA Karatedo Federation (SEAKF), said Reyes, who was joined in the forum by PKF officials Dr. Enrico Vasquez, Rommel Raymundo and Fontana sales manager Jean Alonte.
He added that SEAKF secretary general Vincent Chen of Malaysia was scheduled to arrive Tuesday and would inspect the facilities at the tournament venue, which has become a popular recreation, leisure and entertainment spot in Central Luzon.
“Fontana is proud and privileged to be able to host this big international karate tournament,” said Alonte, whose sprawling resort complex features a world-class golf course, hot springs, 70 hotel rooms, villas and a 600-capacity conference hall where the competitions will be staged.
Reyes said that current national team members – who will be travelling to karatedo power Iran for an extensive training this month – will be back to test their mettle against the region’s best during the SEA competition.
Vasquez, who is a member of the SEAK executive board, said that staging the event in the Philippines is part of the pledge of Philippine Olympic Committee first vice president and PKF president Joey Romasanta for karatedo to contribute in the country’s gold medal output in the Myanmar sportsfest.
“In keeping with PKF president Romasanta’s vow for karatedo to help in the country’s gold-medal bid in the SEA Games, we are targeting between two to four golds in Myanmar,” said Vasquez after the Pinoy karatekas took home three silvers and four bronze medals in the 2011 Indonesia Games.
Fil-Am SEAG silver medalist OJ delos Santos, who won an individual kumite gold medal in the World Shoto Cup held in Cebu City last October, would likely be sent to Japan for further training, Reyes said.
The PKF sec-gen said that 2011 promises to be a busy year for the PKF and the national team, which is also priming for the Asian Karatedo Championships in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates in August, and will host a series of local tournaments nationwide to widen the base for the sport.