Cebuana jins shine in Korea open

CEBU’S PRIDE. Rinna Babanto (right) and Aidaine Laxa (left) pose for a photo with teammate Jocel Lyn Nibola (second from left) and coach Rani Ann Ortega after winning the gold medal in the Chuncheon Korea Open International Taekwondo Championships 2019. (Contributed Photo)

CEBUANA jins Rinna Babanto and Aidaine Laxa showcased their skills in the world stage after winning a gold medal in the Chuncheon Korea Open International Taekwondo Championships 2019 on Monday, July 8, 2019 in South Korea.

Babanto and Laxa along with Jocel Lyn Ninobla won the gold in the women’s team Authorized Poomsae.

“The games here were unexpected because most of our opponents were from Korea and only a few from other countries. But our team’s mindset was to always give our best and aim for the podium finish to give the Philippines a medal,” former world champion Babanto told SunStar Cebu.

Despite the tough competition, the trioka of Babanto, Laxa and Ninobal delivered for the country.

“I’m very thankful to God that our prayers were answered and that He gave us a lot of blessings. I’m also thankful to my coaches, teammates, the people that supported and prayed for us, and to Grandmaster Hong for giving us the opportunity to compete,” she added.

The Korea Open is one of the tournaments that Team Philippines have in line to prepare for the 30th Southeast Asian (Sea) Games , which will be staged in the Philippines on Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.

“This is part of their evaluation for Sea Games. It’s par for the course for Rinna (Babanto) but Aidaine (Laxa) has been giving the national team solid performances of late. From being the best Filipino poomsae performer in the individual category in last’s month’s Asean TKD Championship to this. It’s quite a feat for a 17-year-old competing in the 18 and above category. She should not rest on her laurels,” said Philippine Taekwondo Association (PTA) Region 7 chairman Tony del Prado.

With just well over four months before the Sea Games, Babanto and Laxa must not slack off if they want to be in the final list.

“I guess that holds true for everybody. Though they have one foot in, nothing is assured until the final lineup has been officially submitted. In the meantime, they have to work doubly hard in training,” said del Prado.

Babanto said she’ll be competing in the Asian Open in Vietnam and then have a two-week training in South Korea in October. EKA


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