One of the best taekwondo practitioners in the country has passed away.
Jeffrey Figueroa passed away on Tuesday, suffering complications from a brain tumor. He just turned 36 (September 11, 1986 – September 20, 2022).
A former national athlete, he won gold in the lone stand-alone edition of the Asian Martial Arts Games in 2009 when he topped the men’s bantamweight (62 kg) category in August. Figueroa then proceeded to take the bronze in the same category (but at 60 kg) later in the year in December.
After his fighting career, he then resumed his practice of the sport as a coach and led several collegiate squads in both the NCAA and the UAAP such as his own alma mater University of the East, San Beda University, Emilio Aguinaldo College, Arellano University, and National University.
At NU, he was able to establish a dynasty starting with a double championship for the school in Season 80. Figueroa was last seen in the collegiate leagues in Season 82 in 2019 as part of a solid coaching staff for the University of the Philippines along with coaches Nap Dagdagan Jr. and Ralph Raymond Alombro, where its women’s team regain its place on the podium in third place.
Figueroa is also part of the staff that mentors the national cadet kyorugi team and the erstwhile owner and instructor of the Beowulf Taekwondo Gym in Paranaque.
The former UE Red Jin has handled and molded several successful taekwondo athletes in his years as a national team coach, including 30th Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Dave Cea, two-time SEA Games silver medalist Arven Alcantara, and, of course, current two-time SEA Games champion and Olympian Kurt Barbosa.