Undersized Filipina taekwondo jin Kirstie Elaine Alora already began sparring with taller Filipino male athletes in preparation for the Rio Olympics in Brazil this August.
Alora, only 5-8, is well aware that her Olympic opponents a few months from now will have have longer legs and hold obvious height advantage.
But the 26-year-old Filipina is unfazed by the Olympic oppositions.
“Tina-try na sa amin yung ka-sparring ang mga matatangkad na teammates namin gaya nina Kris Uy and Samuel Morrison. Sila kasi ang may magagandang height at almost same height (of her opponents in the Olympics),” Alora told media men, shortly after the Road to Rio 2016 press conference held at the Jade Garden Restaurant in Glorietta 2, Makati.
Less than 2 weeks ago, Alora dropped a stinging 4-0 shutout at the hands of six-foot Cambodian Seavmey Sorn to settle for the silver medal in the +67 kg female category of the Asian Qualification Tournament for the 2016 Olympics.
The 2-time Asian Games bronze medalist though punched her ticket to the Rio Olympics after beating tournament top seed Akram Khodabandeh of Iran during the semifinals.
Alora will be the lone taekwondo best for this year’s Rio Games, breaking an 8-year absence in the Summer Olympics since Tshomlee Go and Marie Antoniette Rivero did it in Beijing in 2008.
Alora said preparation for the Olympics has been intense as of late as she trains 3 times a day under head Korean trainer Ko Jun Ho and Filipino coaches Robert Cruz, a 3-time World Taekwondo championships silver medalist and Japoy Lizardo, a 3-time Asian championships silver medalist. – By Richard Dy
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