TOKYO – After passing through the proverbial eye of the needle in the Olympic qualifiers, lone Filipino taekwondo bet Kurt Barbosa fears no more.
Be it the Tokyo Games men’s -58kg category top seed whom he has drawn as Round-of-16 opponent at the Makuhari Messe Hall here Saturday.
As he’d done in the Taekwondo OQT in Amman, Jordan, Barbosa said he would just give everything and fight with his heart out.
In the opening round, on the other side of the mat is the highly touted two-time world champ and five-time Grand Prix winner Jang Jun of South Korea.
“Ang daming madra-draw, yung No. 1 pa. Pero maganda na rin yan, kapag tinalo natin, mas madali na ang dadaanan,” said Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino.
The 16-man -58kg draw is littered with great talents but none greater than the Korean with an excellent 92.4-percent (61-of-66) winning rating in his career.
He’s been all over the world, collecting titles here and there from his junior playing years.
But Barbosa is unfazed, vowing to put up a fight.
Going to Tokyo, the Bangued, Abra native is still on a high from his stirring come-from-behind victory over hometown bet Zaid Alhalawani to nail his Olympic entry in the Amman, Jordan OQT.
With 12 seconds remaining, Barbosa was staring at a five-point deficit, but stole the match in the end with a rapid-fire attack at the finish.
With that, he believes everything is possible.
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