AIMING for an explosive performance in the Southeast Asian Games this December, the Philippine Karatedo Federation will send 10 karatekas and one coach for intensive training in Iran late this month.
“We’re targeting at least three gold medals and we can only achieve this if we start preparing early,” said Joey Romasanta, president of the PKF and first vice president of the Philippine Olympic Committee.
Set to leave between Jan. 22 and 25 pending the approval of the Philippine Sports Commission are 2011 SEA Games bronze medalists OJ Delos Santos (men’s individual kata) and Mae Soriano (kumite 55kg) along with Rexor Romaquin, Nino Franco, Mic Badil, Raquel Luzares, Joanna Ylanan, Princess Sicangco and Engene Stoner.
PKF secretary general Raymund Lee said the athletes are expected to return early April to participate in an 11-nation meet the PKF is planning to host. They will go back to Iran a month later to undergo another four months of preparation.
The Philippines captured one silver (men’s kumite) and six bronze medals two years ago in Indonesia, including one bronze in the women’s team kumite.
A total of 16 gold medals are at stake in karatedo.
Romasanta said the only possible hindrance to the foreign training camp is the volatile peace and order situation in the Middle East.
“It will depend on the advisory of the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs),” said Romasanta. “ In case the athletes are already in Iran, there should be a ready evacuation plan.”