Impressive haul

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Monday, July 21, 2014


FIELDING an inexperienced team, without the city’s top jins, turned out better than expected for Team Cebu City.

The Cebuanos had an impressive finish in the Philippine Taekwondo Association (PTA) National Poomsae Taekwondo Championships at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium, taking home 15 gold medals and ending up second place overall last weekend.

Team Cebu City once again took home the gold medal in the Synchronized Poomsae event, which is considered as the most prestigious event of the tournament. The team was comprised of Xandi Alcantara, Cheyena dela Fuente, Nohea dela Fuente, Aidaine Laxa, Alexander Llenes, Alyssa Llenes, Lee Navales, Shannen Paran and Clement Tan.

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“It was certainly a great tournament for us. Though we lost the overall title, we won the more important events. We also retained our crown as champion of Synchronized Poomsae. This is the centerpiece event of the competition and we have been champions of this for three straight years,” said PTA Region 7 chairman Tony del Prado told Sun.Star Cebu.

Cebu also grabbed gold medals in the team, pair and the individual male categories in the Freestyle events. Meagan Bugarin, Moses Bullicer, Daniel Estacio, Lyan Llanto and Nichole Maurin composed the squad in the team event; Bugarin and Bullicer won the pair event. Bullicer also won the individual male event.

Baguio took the overall title this year after fielding out a huge contingent.

“While we only fielded 61 players, Baguio had 112 and therefore had entries in almost all categories,” said del Prado. “Our medals came in the black belt division where we battled with the country’s best and won in almost all categories we competed. Baguio got medals in the novice division (yellow and blue belts).”

Team Cebu Cebu City took home gold medals in seven other black belt categories – three in the team events and four in the Individual category.

The gold medalists in the team events were Laxa and Kobe Hayrana in the Cadet Pair division; Bugarin, Maurin and Estacio in the Junior Team Open; and Laxa, Hayrana and Tan in the Cadet Team Open.

While in the black belt individual events, the gold medalists were Tan, Alyssa Llenes, Alexander Llenes and Bugarin.

Del Prado was especially proud of Bugarin’s upset win over Cebuana world champion Rinna Babanto.

“One interesting side story of our participation there was our win over Cebuana world champion Rinna Babanto in the female Juniors individual event. Babanto, who now plays for DLSU (De La Salle University), lost to Maegan Bugarin. This for me was our most outstanding achievement. Nobody expected Babanto to lose but Meagan, who is a sophomore Architecture student in USC (University of San Carlos), was able to perform to her potential with the guidance of our world champion coach Glenn Lava,” he said.

Babanto, Mac Alob and Mikhaela Calamba are the top jins who are missing in this year’s Cebu poomsae team. Babanto and Alob now represent DLSU, while Calamba took a leave from the sport.

Although pleased of Team Cebu City’s finish this year, del Prado promises a better and bigger team next year.

“We are proud of our first runner-up finish and I told coach Glenn that if what it takes to win the overall is to haul medals in the novice and lower belt divisions then that is what we will do. We will be back with a mission next year. We want to win it back and win it big.”

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 22, 2014.

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