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Kurt Barbosa qualifies for Tokyo Olympics after dramatic win


Kurt Barbosa

FILE – Taekwondo jin Kurt Barbosa wins another gold for the Philippines in the 30th Southeast Asian Games. Photo by Mark Giongco/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino jin Kurt Barbosa clinched a berth in the Tokyo Olympics after a dramatic win in the 2021 Asian Taekwondo Olympic Qualification Tournament Saturday in Amman, Jordan.

Barbosa battled back from a 41-26 deficit with a little over a minute left in the final round to stun hometown bet Zaid Al-Halawani, 50-49, in the men’s 58-kg semifinals.

“Kurt Barbosa gave the Filipino people a timely reminder that as long as there’s still time left on the clock, we need to keep fighting,” MVP Sports Foundation president Al Panlilio said in a statement. “Even if Kurt was down big in the third round, his belief in himself never wavered and now he is an Olympian.”

“Congratulations to Kurt, the newest member of our Tokyo Olympics delegation, and congratulations to our entire Philippine team who competed in Jordan. The success of one is the success of everyone because you all made each other better during your training.”

Barbosa, the 2019 Southeast Asian Games gold medalist, is the lone Filipino jin to make this year’s Summer Games after 2016 Rio Olympian Kirstie Alora, Pauline Lopez and Arven Alcantara failed in their bids.

The Philippines now has nine bets in the Games with Barbosa joining gymnast Caloy Yulo, pole vaulter EJ Obiena, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, rower Cris Nievarez and boxers Eumir Marcial, Nesthy Petecio, Irish Magno and Carlo Paalam.

“As always, the MVP Sports Foundation will be here to support Kurt and the Philippine Taekwondo Association in their preparations for the Olympics,” Panlilio said.


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