Philippine Karatedo Federation (PKF) Secretary-General Raymund Lee Reyes said that the association is on track with its goal of producing more competitive karatekas especially in grassroots level.
“We are exposing all our players so they can have a good credentials. In that case, we can field in more athletes in each weight categories in future international competitions,” Reyes told The Manila Times on Thursday.
Just recently, the national team bagged nine medals – two golds, two silvers, and five bronzes – in the first Vietnam Open Karatedo Championship.
“Actually, all the players whom we are sending abroad are national athletes. This international competition is our preparation for the qualifying tournaments for 2017 SEA Games in Malaysia,” he added.
Besides the senior athletes, most of the players who have competed and won in the Vietnam Open are new to the pool. They are being groomed for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where the sport will be first introduced.
“We are grooming our youth and junior players for 2020 and this is our program to help them achieve their goals,” Reyes said.
The executive board of the International Olympic Committee has been supporting the efforts to include karate as one of the five new sports in the 2020 Olympics. The other proposed additional sports are skateboarding, sports climbing, surfing and baseball or softball.
“We are very happy in the federation. It is great news for our sport,” said Reyes.
The national team is now preparing for the Korean Open slated on June 30 to July 7 and the Thailand Open on July 12 to 20.
JEAN RUSSEL V. DAVID