Rio Olympics veteran Kirstie Alora looks to bag a second straight Olympics berth as she leads Team Pilipinas’ contingent in the 2021 Asian Taekwondo Olympic Qualification Tournament on May 21 and 22 in Amman, Jordan.
Joining the two-time Southeast Asian Games silver medalist are reigning SEA Games champions Pauline Lopez and Kurt Barbosa, and two-time runner-up Arven Alcantara.
The national jins flew Thursday after training for several months in the Inspire Sports Academy.
Two athletes who will top their respective divisions will move on to take the final spots to the Tokyo Games in July.
Alora will be competing in a heavier division than her last Games campaign after adjustments were made by World Taekwondo in its weight classes. She will step on the mat for the women’s plus-78 kg category in Amman.
After missing the Rio ticket by a hairline, Lopez will look into another shot this time as she will vie for a berth in the women’s minus-57 kg.
Barbosa will look to join the star-studded men’s minus-58 kg competing cast, while Alcantara will attempt to break into the list for the men’s minus-68 kg.
The national team coaches headed by Caloy Padilla are optimistic of the delegation’s chances to take more berths for the country into the Tokyo Games.
“For sure, ‘pag ginawa nila ang best nila sa qualification, which is just one more step to qualify for Tokyo, then, magbubunga ‘yung sacrifices nila,” said Padilla.
The Philippines has been in all editions of the sport in the Summer Games since its inception, save for 2012. Four jins participated in the sport’s debut in 2000 in Sydney.