Kurr Barbosa and Arven Alcantara will have little time to celebrate their golden triumphs in the recent Cambodia SEA Games as they lead the SMART/MVPSF Philippine taekwondo team to the World Taekwondo Championships from May 29 to June 4, 2023, in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Toughened by their Tokyo Games stint, Barbosa outclassed Thailand’s Ramnarong Saweekwiharee in the men’s -54kg category to win the gold. Meanwhile, Alcantara gutted out a 2-1 win over another Thai competitor, Chaichon Cho, in the men’s -68kg category.
They accounted for two of the six gold medals won by the team, securing the most number of golds, a feat later matched by the arnis team.
Other members of the team, also supported by the Philippine Sports Commission and Philippine Olympic Committee, include Dex Ian Chavez (-58kg), Joseph Chua (-63kg), Dave Cea (-74kg), Veronica Garces (-46kg), Baby Jessica Canabal (-53kg), Nicole Ann McCann (-57kg), and Laila Delo (-67kg).
The Baku event is part of the team’s extensive preparation for the Asian Games, Indoor Martial Arts Games, Asian Taekwondo Championships, and Chuncheon Korea Taekwondo Championships, all taking place this year.
Heading the delegation is Raul Samson, while the coaches of the team are Carlos Jose Padilla V and Brix Darmo Ramos.
Favorites such as Korea, China, Spain, Iran, Turkey, Chinese Taipei, and the United States are also participating in the event.