With solid support from the government in their preparation for various Olympic qualifying tournaments, top Filipino karatekas are now hungrier to claim the coveted slots in Tokyo Games.
Karate Pilipinas Federation (KPF) president Richard Lim said their athletes are in high spirits due to the all-out support given by chief of mission Mariano Araneta, the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor).
“As an NSA (national sports association), we are given support by PSC and Pagcor. Of course in return, we should do our best. We should do our part and work also, it adds up to the pressure that we should really win,” Lim said.
“Whatever problem may come, financially or technically, it will be handled by the NSA. But then again, PSC has really been very generous to us.”
Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold medalists Junna Tsukii and Jamie Lim and fellow medalists Ivan Agustin and Joanne Orbon are KPF’s top bets to bag the Olympic slots this July.
Lim said these hopefuls are driven with fiery dreams to make it through.
“Four of our athletes just came from Karate1 Series in Chile. They did very good there, and they are really hungry for more competitions,” Lim with Tsukii winning the bronze in the -55kg kumite event in that competition said.
“They really want to play more games. They are preparing themselves for their pre-qualifying tournament in Paris.”
The karate chief revealed that the huge part of their plan focuses on their attempt to compete in the Olympic qualifying tournament in Paris in May.
“In karate, there are three options to qualify, the first is to go to point systems. The second way to go is through the continental points, and the last is the qualification to be held in Paris.”
“So, we will go for the last option which is in Paris. The top three winners there will automatically enter the Olympics. We have a pretty good chance there because those who were already qualified through the first two options will no longer participate so our chances will be higher.”
“That option (Paris) is the most economical and provides the highest chance for our athletes (to qualify).”
But Lim said Tsukii would be chasing her Olympic dream through the point system after competing in various tournaments held in Europe and South America through the help of private sponsors.
“As of now, we have 50-50 chance there because it is a one-shot deal in Paris championship because it will really depend on their performance in the tournament day itself,” Lim said.
“But looking at their recent performance in Chile, they had an impressive output there, even including their SEA Games. It only shows how driven they are with regards to training.”
“The focus of our athletes is towards training and winning — that’s it.”