Cebu teenager seizes world taekwondo gold

Displaying grace and balance, 15-year-old Mikeala Calamba flashed perfect form to win the gold medal in the recent 7th World taekwondo poomsae championships held in Tunja City, Colombia.

Calamba, who hails from Cebu City, snared the top prize in the female individual freestyle category, besting her rivals from Vietnam, Indonesia and the United States to clinch only the second gold medal for the country in the sport in the Worlds.

The high school junior at University of San Carlos drew the loudest cheers from among the crowd but also impressed the judges doing her routine with flair.

Chau Tuyet Van of Vietnam settled for the silver, while Defia Rosmaniar of Indonesia and Ann Bernadette Rodriguez of the United States shared third place.

The country made a breakthrough two years ago when the trio of Rani Ann Ortega, Ma. Carla Janice Lagman and Camille Alarilla captured the team poomsae gold during the 2010 Worlds held in Uzbekistan.

Philippine Taekwondo Association chief executive officer Sung Chon Hong expressed delight over Calamba’s feat which fortified the country’s reputation in the sport’s form aspect.

The Philippines also went home with one silver and three bronzes.

“We’re very proud of Mikeala and our other athletes,” said Hong. “They all did well against the best from 57 countries.”

Ortega, Lagman, Ernesto Guzman Jr., Galilee Tinaya and Vidal Marvin Gabriel joined hands in taking the silver medal in the freestyle combined team event.

Calamba then annexed the freestyle women’s team bronze with Ortega and Lagman, while Tinaya and Beatrice Ann Ventura nailed a bronze in freestyle pair. Guzman, Gabriel and Tinaya bagged the other bronze in men’s team.

The Philippine team’s trip was also supported by Smart, MVP Sports Foundation, Meralco, TV5 and Philippine Sports Commission. Marc Anthony Reyes

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