THE Philippine karatedo team hopes its triumph in the recent Thailand Open would translate into even more success in the Southeast Asian Games this August.
The team bagged two gold, a silver, and 14 bronze medals in the capital of Bangkok led by Jaime Villegas in the individual kata and Jason Macaalay in the -60 kumite.
Judging from the way the team performed, Philippine Karatedo Federation (PKF) secretary-general Raymund Lee Reyes believes the karatekas are on track for gold in the Kuala Lumpur Games set from August 19-30.
“Siyempre we would like to have two to three golds in the SEA Games, and other players getting medals as well. Yun ang target namin,” said Reyes when he appeared together with the karate team delegation in Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday at the Golden Phoenix Hotel.
Accompanying Reyes in the session presented by San Miguel Corp., Golden Phoenix Hotel, Accel, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., were coach Ali Parvinfar, and medalists Mae Soriano, James Delos Santos, Rexor Tacay, Engene Dagohoy, Christian Queco, Kimverly Madrona, Gabriel Villaluz, Shareif Afif, and Villegas.
The karate team won a gold courtesy of Ramon Franco, a silver, and bronze during the Myanmar SEA Games in 2013. Karate was not included in the calendar of events during the Singapore edition of the biennial meet two years ago.
Soriano meanwhile, provided a bronze medal during the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
Reyes noted Soriano was already being scouted by the opposition during the Thailand Open, which attracted a total of 18 countries.
A total of 16 gold medals will be at stake in the SEA Games, with the host country and Indonesia looming as the biggest threat in the Philippines’ gold medal bid.