Filipina taekwondo jin Pauline Lopez fell short in her bid for a spot in the Rio Olympics on Sunday, but former World Championships bronze medalist Monsour del Rosario remains optimistic that the experience she gained will prepare her for another shot at the Summer Games 4 years from now.
“You expose her (Lopez) to this kind of level and she’ll know what she needs to get up there because now, you’ll be exposed to the best players in the world,” Del Rosario told FOX Sports on Sunday during the Asian Qualification Tournament for 2016 Rio Olympics at the Marriott Grand Ballroom.
“These are the top 16 fighters in their division that want to go there (Olympics). So to be the best, you have to be with the best and fight with the best in their field right now.”
Lopez bowed to opponent Phaanap Harnsujin of Thailand, 5-2 in their semifinal match in the women’s -57 kilogram division on Sunday before a disappointed Filipino homecrowd.
The 50-year-old del Rosario, currently serving as the secretary-general of the Philippine Taekwondo Association, believes Lopez will just have utilize her left leg more in future fights to make her more lethal and hopefully, reach the Olympics.
“It’s just the last round that she utilized her left leg. I was thinking she should have utilized her right leg, kasi yung right leg niya perfect, but we need to work more on her left leg,” observed the 1985 World Championships bronze medalist.
And while competition is completely different compared to his time some 30 years ago, del Rosario explained that such tough condition should serve as a challenge for Lopez and today’s national taekwondo jins.
“She’s still young, she can still go for another Olympics and at least, she knows what it takes. There’s a saying, when you learn to lose, you know what it will take to win,” said Del Rosario, who reached the quarterfinals in the 1988 Seoul Olympics as a lightweight.
“But this will be a big lesson for all of them for all those who tried because (making the) Olympics is not easy, it’s very tough to just qualify,” he added.
“Just to be there is something. To win is like to be a hero already, especially for your country.”
The Philippines will be sending its lone bet in the Rio Olympics this August after Kirstie Elaine Alora finished with a silver medal in the +67-kilogram.
A 2-time Asian Games bronze medalist, Alora shocked the tournament’s top-ranked Akram Khodabandeh of Iran in the semifinals to punch a ticket in the Rio Olympics.
Alora though settled for silver after bowing to reigning Asian Games champion Sorn Seavmey in a one-sided 5-0 defeat. – By Richard Dy
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