By Diana Mae Salonoy

PHOTO: Lebanese Taekwondo Federation

Tokyo Olympian Kurt Bryan Barbosa and Laila Delo made giant waves after nabbing two bronze medals for the Philippines at the 2022 Korea Open International Taekwondo Championships on Thursday in Chuncheon City, South Korea. 

Barbosa and Delo spearheaded the Philippine National Taekwondo Kyorugi Team as they willed themselves to complete podium finishes in the Men's 54kg Kyorugi and the Women's 67kg Kyorugi, respectively. 

Barbosa, who bannered Philippine Taekwondo at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, was slammed shut from gold medal contention after a heartbreaking semis loss to Mahdi Hajimousaei of Iran, 2-1. 

Delo, meanwhile, was swept by China's powerhouse fighter Junhong Liu in their semifinal bout, 2-0, despite finishing the Round-16 and quarterfinals stage unscathed. 

While missing on a golden opportunity, both Filipino jins will bring home medals as they boost their chances of qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympics.  

"Well done to the entire team, all our athletes and coaches, we are very proud of you all! To all our partners, maraming, maraming salamat sa inyong lahat," the Philippine Taekwondo Association penned on its Facebook page. 

Other Filipino athletes who finished strong in the regional open include Arven Alcantara (Men's -68kg), Sharifa Bainca Dela Cruz (Women's -46kg), Baby Jessica Canabal (Women's -53kg), and Realis Lorena Tabiando (Women's -57kg). 

It's raining medals in Chuncheon

Just five days prior, the Philippine National Poomsae Team amassed five silver and three bronze plums to make its presence felt at the 2022 Asian Taekwondo Championships still in Chuncheon City. 

While failing to convert a gold, Filipino poomsae jins made a thunderous statement with their five-silver medal haul in freestyle, recognized, individual, and mixed team poomsae events. 

Silver medalists for freestyle poomsae include Janna Dominique Oliva and Darius Venerable (Individual Over 17), as well as Justine Kobe Macario, Darius Venerable, Jeordan Dominguez, Juvenile Crisostomo, and Janna Dominique Oliva (Mixed Team).

Rodolfo Reyes Jr. (Individual Male Under 30), and Joaquin Tuzon, Enrico Mella, and Patrick King Perez (Team Male Under 30) joined the silver medal haul for the Philippines in recognized poomsae.

Also grabbing bronze medals  are the following teams from recognized poomsae: Angelica Gaw, Aidaine Laxa, and Laeia Soria (Team Female Under 30), and Reyes Jr. and Jocel Ninobla (Pair Under 30).  

Justin Kobe Macario and Juvenile Crisostomo completed the strong Philippine campaign with one bronze in the Freestyle Poomsae Pair Over 17.

Edited by Quian Vencel Galut