Asian Games 2023: PH jins Kurt Barbosa, Veronica Garces crash out

The Philippines lost another top medal hopeful after Tokyo Games veteran Kurt Barbosa dropped his opening round match to Uzbekistan’s Omonjon Otajonov at the start of taekwondo’s Kyorugi (free sparring) event in the 19th Asian Games.

Barbosa started tentatively but rallied furiously to tie the count at 14-all at the end of the exciting two-round contest in the men’s -58-kilogram division at the Lin’an Sports Culture and Exhibition Centre.

Kurt Barbosa [photo from Kurt Barbosa OLY Instagram]
Kurt Barbosa [photo from Kurt Barbosa OLY Instagram]

But to Team PH’s disappointment, the Uzbek was declared winner due to superiority.

Despite his height disadvantage, Barbosa was the more aggressive fighter in the second round, desperate to pull off the win that would have sent him to round-of-16.

“Alam mo naman si Kurt walang kinatatakutan kahit matangkad at mahaba ang kalaban nya,” Taekwondo official Rocky Samson stated. “But due to superiority, he lost.”

It also happened to Veronica Garces in the women’s -49 class as she lost to the taller third-seeded Mobina Nematzadeh in the round-of-16. She hurdled her opening match, beating Tajikistan’s Shirinmohi Mirshakarzoda.

Garces did everything possible to score cleanly but the Iranian, with her vast experience, proved elusive.

On Tuesday, two more jins will see action with Joseph Chua going up against Nurbek Gazes of Kazakhstan in the round-of-16 of the men’s -63kg while Baby Jessica Canabal, a silver medalist in the recent Korean Open tackles Japanese Katoh Yuzuho in the women’s -53kg class.

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