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    Once suspended for doping, karateka Joane Orbon redeems self with SEAG bronze

    Dec 18, 2019
    PHOTO: marlo cueto

    NO regrets.

    That's how Joane Orbon viewed her decision to switch karate federations from the United States of America to the Philippines.

    "I'm more than proud to be here and represent the Philippines," she said.

    Orbon, 25, was once ranked as the world's seventh-best in the 61-kg class but eventually saw her rankings dip following a foot injury that kept her out of the mat for 10 months.

    It also hurt that she was hounded by a doping issue after testing positive for a banned substance on a dietary supplement she was taking, which led to her being suspended in February which was later on lifted in September.

    By the time she was cleared, Orbon was already representing the Philippines.

    Fast forward to now and Orbon won a bronze medal in the 30th Southeast Asian Games, a fitting reward for her that justified her decision to change federations.

    But she's not satisfied at all, seeking to perform better in the future tournaments.

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    "I haven't been on the mat for 10 months and this is just a stepping stone for myself," she said. "I know the areas I need to improve on. From here, its's just progress and working my way from where I was."

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    Despite suffering a right shoulder injury in her SEA Games run, Orbon still sees a bright future ahead of her as she hopes to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

    "I think we already have plans to step back to the (Karate1) Premier League and go to Chile and Paris in January. From there, it's just the league and then hopefully, hit the last qualification event in Paris for the Olympics," she said.

    "If not, were going to go on another option. Instead of the points system, we're gonna go through the last chance qualifier. It's like the world championship where the top two goes directly in."

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    PHOTO: marlo cueto
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