PAULINE Lopez failed in her bid to claim a spot in the Rio De Janeiro Olympics after a 5-2 loss to Phannapa Harnsijun of Thailand on Sunday in the Asian Qualification Tournament taekwondo at the Marriott Grand Ballroom in Pasay City.
Lopez trailed 0-3 in the first round after Harnsujin landed a hit to the top of the head of the Filipina jin that merited three points following a video review in their semifinal bout in the women’s -57kg division clash.
The Southeast Asian Games gold medalist was left to to play catch-up in the final two rounds but her comeback fell short.
As the Filipino crowd cheered her on for the gallant effort, Lopez tried to hide her tears on her way out of the competition area as well as when she was interviewed by reporters later.
“I think the term I guess in Tagalog is naunahan niya ako,” said Lopez, a Los Angeles-born fighter who failed to join teammate Kirstie Elaine Alora in the Rio competition. “It’s the breaks of the game.”
The 19-year-old Lopez beat Nurul Farah Alisa Roslan of Malaysia, 4-2, in her quarterfinal match to open her campaign on a high note.
The Filipina jin took a 2-1 lead in the second that was also aided by a grabbing penalty by Roslan before taking command in the following round.
[See Kirstie Alora qualifies for Rio 2016 after advancing to finals of Asia Olympic taekwondo qualifying tilt]
Alora gained an Olympic berth on Saturday following a semifinal victory over top-ranked Akram Khodabandeh of Iran, 10-3, in the women’s +67kg class before settling for a silver medal later in the day.
Also on Saturday, Kristopher Uy lost to Palestine’s Tanrikulu Bahari in the men’s +80kg round-of-16, while Samuel Morrison bowed to Muhammad Faheem of Pakistan in the quarterfinal round.