Filipino karateka Niño Franco (right) throws a kick against an opponent in a kumite [sparring[ event. PHOTO FROM NIÑO FRANCO’S FACEBOOK PAGE.

    The national karatedo team secured one silver and one bronze medal in the 2013 Tehran Karatedo Championships held in Tehran, Iran.

    National mainstay Niño Franco earned the country’s silver medal in the men’s -55-kilogram event. Franco made it to the finals by scoring three impressive victories in the elimination round.

    But the Filipino karateka lost to an Iranian fighter in the championship round via a close 0-2 decision.

    "It was a good fight. There’s a huge improvement on his [Franco] style and technique and it’s a good sign before the Southeast Asian Games,” said Philippine Karatedo Federation secretary general Raymund Lee Reyes.

    Michael Badil delivered the bronze medal as he finished third in the men’s -75-kilogram division. The other members of the national team, Eugene Dagohoy and Jayson Macaalay, also competed in the tournament but failed to advance to the medal round.

    The Filipino karatekas are currently in Tehran for to undergo training under veteran Iranian coaches and trainers. It is part of their preparation for the 2013 Southeast Asian Games in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar scheduled on December 11 to 22.

    “We’re thankful to the Iranian Karatedo Federation for providing the needs of the athletes especially the Iranian coaches who are monitoring their training,” added Reyes.

    The national team is looking to surpass its one-silver, six-bronze medal showing in the 2011 edition of the biennial meet in Indonesia.

    “We want to win gold medals that’s why we’re sending them abroad to hone their skills,” stressed Reyes.


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