‘Old school’ Alora stays on even keel
RIO DE JANEIRO—Kirstie Elaine Alora typifies a veteran taekwondo-jin’s nonchalance ahead of a big fight: Cool and unbothered.
Her Olympic debut still more than a week away, Alora doesn’t seem to tire strategizing and practicing with coach Roberto Cruz. Not to kill boredom but to sharpen up some more.
She’ll need it. The country’s only taekwondo fighter here sets out as the clear underdog to Mexico’s former Olympic champion Maria Espinoza when they clash in a +67-kilogram bout on Aug. 20 at Carioca Arena 3.
Going for Alora, who hails from Biñan, Laguna, is the fact she’s about the same height as Espinoza and both fighters belong to taekwondo’s “old school,” a less busy but more direct style of fighting popular before the advent of electronic vest scoring.
Cruz said the new style is a lot more aggressive and focuses on connections to the e-vest, which should be hit with a certain amount of force to yield a scoring point.
For now, coach and fighter make themselves available to cheer for their compatriots who are still in the competition.
“I’d like to psyche myself up some more by cheering for my teammates,” said Alora.