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‘Three Js’ boost karate chief’s confidence ahead of qualifiers

Karate chief Ricky Lim understandably felt good the moment he arrived in Paris for the coming Karate World Olympic Qualification Tournament (OQT).

For nearly three months in Turkey, the Karate Pilipinas president witnessed the six Filipino karatekas vying for spots in the Tokyo Olympics blossom into zealous competitors ripe for the June 11 to 13 qualifier.

“All of them are in very excellent condition. I think we’ve done enough, the preparation was very good,’’ said Lim.

Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) gold medalists Jamie Lim, two-time Pan-American champion Joane Orbon, male karatekas Ivan Agustin, Shariff Afif and Alwyn Batican camped in Turkey while Filipino-Japanese SEAG gold winner Junna Tsukii prepared for the qualifier in Japan and Serbia.

“They’ve fought against the best in the Turkey training camp. They’re ready to go up to seven bouts to make it to the top three and make the Tokyo Olympics,’’ said Lim.

The top three finishers in each weight class will secure slots in Tokyo after surviving the preliminary matches where the best fighter per pool advance to the semifinals.

The four semifinalists will compete in a round-robin elimination to determine the three Olympic qualifiers.

Apart from the six kumite entries, Lim said kata specialists John Enrico Vasquez and Sarah Pangilinan are set to arrive in Paris within the week for the OQT.

Lim is especially pinning his hopes on the “Three Js’’ (Junna, Jamie and Joane) to punch those coveted tickets to Tokyo.

“I’m confident that they can do it,’’ said Lim.

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