OVER 200 karatekas from eight Southeast Asian countries see action in the 2nd SEA Karatedo Federation championships starting on Friday at the Hotel Stotsenberg ballroom inside the Clark Freeport Zone in Angeles City, Pampanga.
Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) first vice-president and Philippine Karatedo Federation (PKF) president Joey Romasanta welcomed the participants to the three-day sports showcase, saying “the staging of this event is a welcome development and a milestone for Philippine karate."
He added: “We expect only the best from our Southeast Asian karatekas and the competition will serve as a yardstick for our own athletes who are preparing for the Myanmar Southeast Asian Games in December.”
Spearheading the hometown bets is 2011 Southeast Asian Games silver medalist and World Shoto Cup kata champion OJ delos Santos in the event supported by the Philippine Sports Commission, POC, Magnolia, Ginebra San Miguel, Unilever, Hotel Stotsenberg, and Fontana Hotel Leisure Parks and Casino.
PKF secretary general Raymund Lee Reyes said that aside from the host country, also competing in the tournament are the karatekas from Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos.
Aside from the seniors or elite division, also on tap are competitions in the children, cadet, and junior divisions in both kata and kumite, Reyes said, adding that they also held a referees seminar on Thursday supervised by Asian Karatedo Federation technical officials as part of the drive to upgrade officiating in the region.
Ushering Friday’s hostilities will be simple inaugural rites to be graced by SEAKF officials, POC president Jose Cojuangco Jr. and Romasanta, Reyes said.
The PKF official disclosed the World Karatedo Federation’s symbol of its all-out campaign to be part of the 2020 Olympic Games “The K is on the Way” will be brought over to the country and will be displayed for the duration of the event.