Tokyo Olympics veteran Kurt Bryan Barbosa will lead an 8-player Filipino SMART/MVP Sports Foundation taekwondo team as they compete for pride and glory against the world’s best and toughest fighters at the World Championships Taekwondo 2022 scheduled for November 13-20 in Guadalajara, Mexico. .
Barbosa, the pride of National University, former UAAP Season 81 MVP, and the first Filipino taekwondo jin to make it to the pandemic-delayed Olympics in Japan last year since Tshomlee Go in the 2008 edition, will try to bounce back from a failed bid for his first world stint as he is now armed with better preparation and experience.
“Naghanda po kami ng todo para dito. Halos dalawang buwan din po kaming nag-training in Korea for mabawi ‘yung dalawang taong pahinga dahil in pandemic. Babawi po ako dito,” said the 22-year-old, who failed in his mission in the 2019 edition when he lost in his round of 16 match in the men’s thinweight category.
At his side in this prestigious competition in which more than 100 countries participate, such as Korea, China, Spain, Iran, Turkey, Chinese Taipei and the United States, Dave Cea (-74 kg) , gold medalist of the Southeast Asian Games in Manila 2018, Laila Delo (-67kg), Baby Jessica Canabal (-53kg), Joseph Chua (63kg) and Alfritz Arevalo (-68kg).
Raul Romero and Carlos Jose Padilla will be the coaches, while Raul Samson will be the team manager. Former Senator Anna Dominique ‘Nikki’ Coseteng is the head of the delegation.
“This tournament is important for our athletes as they try to earn points to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. All tournaments have been scheduled with a points system, and as much as possible we must join this competition next year,” Samson said.
The competition also serves as a focus for the national team’s preparation for next year’s Asian Games in China, the SEA Games in Cambodia, the Indoor Martial Arts Games, the Asian Championships and the next edition of the World Taekwondo Championships.
The team’s participation is also supported by the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee.