Filipina jin makes history in first online international taekwondo tournament

May 15, 2020
PHOTO: @jocelninobla on Instagram

HUSTLE makes history.

Filipina taekwondo jin Jocel Lyn Ninobla, her father June, and the Philippine Taekwondo Association made it happen in this "new normal" era of sports.

The Philippines brought home the first-ever Online Poomsae Championships organized by World Taekwondo (WT), the worldwide governing body of the martial art.

“My success is the success of the Philippines. It’s an honor to represent the country in this kind of competition in this ‘new normal’ situation. I will forever carry this victory because we won a tough fight in an [even tougher] situation,” the 30th Southeast Asian Games gold medalist told SPIN Life.

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Like nearly every other industry in the world, sports is slowly adapting to continue operations and tournaments amidst the precarious global situation. Thus, WT pioneered an online international martial arts competition this May 2020.

This was possible thanks to the unique rules of the sport. Poomsae is an exhibition sport, with no need for actual physical contact.

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The 23-year-old jin from Camarines Sur ruled the Under 30 Female Individual event, defeating over a hundred competitors around the globe. Meanwhile, her dad, June Ninobla, the 2018 Asia Pacific Masters Games champion, brought home the title in the Under 60 Male Individual event.

“This is our lives’ greatest history, a father and daughter tandem. We want to inspire fellow athletes to strive for our dreams no matter what situation we are in,” she said.

The Camarines Sur-native, however, gave credit where she believes the credit is due: her PTA family and coaches, as well as the Philippine Sports Commission, who helped her in this history-making journey.

The online competition is as rigorous as its offline version. It followed a closely monitored process from registration, relaying of instructions and rules, to the submission of videos and pooling of judges.

How did it work?

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Coach Rani Ortega explained: “It’s like all other World Taekwondo-sanctioned tournaments, but we submit our videos online within a certain deadline. A few days after the end of the registration, they will post what poomsae (forms) to perform and how many rounds you will do (based on their actual count of participants per category, just like a regular tournament).

“We are to submit three videos, (preliminary, semis, finals) trhough YouTube link thru e-mail. Judging was live through a number of YouTube channels. Referees are all certified,” she continued.

For the PTA coaches, not even this pandemic can stop them from getting their jobs done. Nibola, for instance, practiced through online trainings built by her coaches.

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“As national athletes, we are committed to our craft. Even in ECQ and in the confinement of our homes, we never stopped training. Individualized training programs were set up for the athletes, considering the space they have at home, kaya tuloy lang ang ensayo,” Ortega said. “We cannot relax, we have to be ready.”

The Philippine team coach also said that the whole PTA is gearing towards the new normal, utilizing available online platforms to create a system for their athletes.

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PHOTO: @jocelninobla on Instagram
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