Torres leads the karate team at the SEA Games

Rommel Tan, Director of Karate Pilipinas Davao Region (left) with Rita Cuadra, Ivan Agustin and Rebecca Cyril Torres. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

IF her success at the 9th Southeast Asian Karate Federation (SEAKF) Championships in Cambodia last month is any indication, Rebecca Cyril Torres may be a contender for a medal at the Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia. Vietnam (SEAG) next month.

Torres finished second behind Putri Aprilla Krisda of Indonesia while Nguyen Thi Phoung of Vietnam came third in the women’s individual kata event of the tournament which took place from March 25-27 at the Royal University of Phnom Penh.

The Philippines also bagged two bronze medals thanks to Ivan Agustin (kumite -75 kg men) and Rita Cuadra (kumite -55 kg women).

The SEAKF Championships served as a focus for athletes traveling to SEAG.

“My teammates and I trained with our coaches, Sensei Chino Veguillas and Sensei Rhodee Saavedra, and we train to perform better every day. The goal is to perform well and execute well and the medal will follow,” said the 28-year-old. Torres said yesterday in an interview with the Manila Times.

Torres has been competing overseas for 22 years now. Her last tournament before the 9th SEAKF Championships was SEAG 2019 where she won the bronze medal in team kata with Nicole Dantes and Ronaldene Flores.

She joined the Association for the Advancement of Karatedo Club at the age of five and trained under Asian Games and SEAG gold medalist Richard Lim, Asian Games bronze medalist and Olympic medalist. SEAG silver medalist Sonny Montalvo and SEAG gold medalist Veguillas.

“My parents enrolled me in summer classes when I was young and I chose to continue karate because I love practicing this sport and because of the friends I have made. At the same time, karate taught me discipline and courage on and off the mat,” said Torres, who holds a bachelor’s degree in tourism from the University of the Philippines-Diliman.

She is currently pursuing a second degree in Sport and Exercise Science.

Torres, who also played for the UP track team, isn’t the only athlete in the family.

“My dad played baseball when he was in high school. He also plays badminton and he’s also a coach until now. My sister is a brown belt in karate and she trained and competed too. She became a member of the Salinggawi’s cheering team when she was in college,” Torres said.

Veguillas described Torres as a very excellent kata player.

“She achieved it by working very hard. And she is very disciplined and determined,” the national coach said.

With the right attitude and skills, Torres is poised for success when she makes her second SEAG appearance in Vietnam.

The Philippines won two gold, one silver and nine bronze to rank fifth in the karate medal standings at the last SEAG. Malaysia finished first with four golds and four silvers, followed by Thailand (3-2-3), Vietnam (2-3-6) and Indonesia (2-3-4) .

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