The national karatedo team opened its bid with one gold, two silvers and one bronze in the 2016 Vietnam Open Karatedo Championship on Wednesday at the Thanh Hoa Sport Training and Competition Center in Vietnam.
Promising karatekas Jaime Enrique Villegas and Cris Kawaen spearheaded the country’s campaign by completing a 1-2 finish in the male individual kata junior.
They sealed an all-Filipino finals as Villegas ousted Bingo Chan Chi Wa of Hong Kong in the first round (3-0) and Nguyen Huu Phi Tuan of Vietnam in the semifinals (2-0) while Kawaen toppled Vietnamese fighters Nguyen Viet Thanh in the opening round (3-0) and Pham Huu Hoang in the semifinals (3-0).
World Shoto Cup Karate Championships gold medalist Orencio James Delos Santos settled for silver medal in the men’s individual kata after losing to Fidelys Lolobua of Indonesia in the gold-medal match.
Delos Santos made it to the championship round by blasting Lurong Van Hoan of Vietnam in the first round (3-0), Lee Seungseop of South Korea in the quarterfinals (2-1) and Kuok Kin Hang of Macau in the semifinals (2-1).
The lone bronze was delivered by Leigh Angela Cuadra in the female individual kata junior.
“We had a good outcome this year compared last year when we only won one silver and four bronzes. But now, it’s just the first day of our campaign and we already got a gold medal. We are hoping to win more medals in the coming days,” said Philippine Karatedo Federation Secretary General Raymund Lee Reyes.
Villegas (61 kgs. kumite junior), Kawaen (55 kgs. kumite junior) and Cuadra (59 kgs. kumite junior) will be gunning for medals in their respective kumite events along with Rexor Romanquin (men’s kumite 67 kgs.), Bryan Fontillas (men’s kumite 84 kgs.), Mae Soriano (women’s kumite 55 kgs.), Kristina Charisse Santiago (women’s kumite 50 kgs.), Randy Stefano Padua Jr. (male 76 kgs. junior) and Marie Angelique Aguilar (female 53 kgs. juniors).
The other members of the team are John Enrico Vasquez, Andrei Mel Dela Cruz and Andrei Carl Dela Cruz, who are set to compete in the cadet division.