IN LESS THAN two weeks, Ateneo’s Taekwondo Team grabbed several medals in three major tournaments, including the 9th World Taekwondo Culture Expo held at Taekwondo-Won Stadium in Muju-Jeollabukdo, South Korea last July 10-15, 2015.
Twin brothers Laurence Izaiah Firmeza of Grade 6-Xavier and Lance Izaak Firmeza of Grade 6-Borgia managed to rake four international medals for the country topping powerhouse USA, Australia, Korea, and Thailand. Laurence won silver in poomsae and bronze in kyurugi while Lance got bronze in poomsae and silver in kyurugi in their respective categories.
More than 500 taekwondo jins from 25 countries all over the world competed in this international tournament held in the birthplace of Taekwondo itself.
To note, poomsae is a Korean word which means “form.” A jin is judged according to how he or she delivers recognized taekwondo forms in terms of mastery, balance, expression of energy and accuracy in your leg and hand movements. Kyurugi, on the other hand, is the sparring version. It is somehow the “measure of the opponent’s power with one’s own technique.
Meanwhile, the Atenean taeks also seized three golds, a silver and a bronze in the National Taekwondo Poomsae Championships held in Manila last July 18-19 at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.
Slugging it out against 1000 participants from all over the country (including members of the Philippine team), 29 Ilonggo jins participated in the tournament. From the six gold medals that Iloilo won, half of which came from coach Denmark V. Pinggol-led Ateneans. The prime medalists were Cyd Edric Esmaña of 3 Evans, Juan Francisco Bulilan of 2 Mayer and Patricia Danise Seruelo of 10 Wisdom.
The other medalists were Elizabeth Marie Borres of 3 Brebeuf (silver) and Niesha Khariz Pequierda of 2 Hurtado (bronze). Atenean jins Elisha Venice Aguilar of 4 Regis, Gabriel Alfonso Samson of 4 Miki, and Elaine Margaret Borres of 7 Peace went up to the qualterfinal round.
Just a week before the national feat, Ateneo’s Taekwondo Team also grabbed five golds and a silver in the Regional Inter-School Taekwondo Kyurugi Championships held at Binirayan Sports Complex, San Jose Antique last July 11, 2015.
Still led by coach Pinggol, the Atenean martial artists won four golds and a silver. Neil Joshua Comoro of Grade 2-Mayer finished with a silver medal while Gabriel Don Isidro of Grade 2-Mayer won the gold. Also gold clinchers were Grade 6-Xavier Xyrus Andrei Desierto and Conrad Joseph Pido of Grade 4-Miki; and Mathew Thomas Del Rosario of Grade 3-Campion. Ateneo’s lone High School Girls participant, Ma. Wilmena Popelo of Grade 7-Courage, also won the gold in her weight division.
The regional tournament was participated in by 200 students from different private and public schools all over Western Visayas.
By far, this is the most productive month for the Ateneo Taekwondo Team. More tournaments are still up for grabs though late this year. (Herman Lagon and Jose Anselmo Tenorio/Magis)