Rio Olympian Kirstie Alora more motivated than ever as she returns to SEA Games
A three-time gold medalist in the SEA Games, Kirstie Alora returns to the biennial meet afher her event was scratched from calendar for the Singapore Games. Jerome Ascano

KIRSTIE Elaine Alora is more motivated than ever to perform well in the taekwondo competitions in Kuala Lumpur after being named the Philippine delegation’s flag-bearer in the opening ceremony of the 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur.

The 2016 Rio Olympian is returning to the SEA Games competition after her event scratched from the calendar for the Singapore Games two years ago.

"It's an honor," said Alora, who will compete in the women's -73kg division.

"Nakaka-proud. Key rin to inspire myself kasi nabiyayaan ako na magbitbit ng flag this coming SEA Games. 'Yun na rin ang key para mag-strive harder ako sa lahat ng ginagawa ko and produce a gold para sa country natin."

A delegation of more than 400 Filipino athletes is looking to push the country up from a sixth-place finish two years ago, and Alora is determined to bring honor and glory to the Philippines in taekwondo to be held from August 26 to 29 at the KLCC Hall 1.

Among the top jins Alora will have to hurdle Cambodian Olympian Sorn Seavmey, a jin she lost to during the Asia qualifiers last year in Manila.

Seavmey, who has a height advantage against Alora, was the flagbearer of Cambodia during the Rio Olympics.

"I think may maganda naman akong chance sa SEA Games. But, ang pinakatinitignan ko na kalaban is 'yung Cambodian na tumalo sa akin nung Asian qualifying. So far, pinagaaralan namin maigi 'yung laro niya. May mga game plan na kami for her. I think maganda chance ko," said Alora.

During the build-up for the SEA Games, Alora competed in the World Championship where she lost in her first fight. She also competed in the Korea Open where she reached the quarterfinal round.

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