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Cordillera taekwondo jins eye Jordan meet after ASEAN win


BAGUIO CITY — Two Cordillera taekwondo jins will see action in the 3rd Asian Cadet Taekwondo Championship in Amman, Jordan on July 22 and 23.

Baguio City’s Rama Chandra Liporada and childhood rival John Kim Pasion of La Trinidad, Benguet will fly to the Middle East, for possible slots in a world championship competition.

Liporada won the sparring gold in the junior male 51-kilogram class in the ASEAN Taekwondo Federation (ATF) Championships on May 4 and 5 at the Mall of Asia Arena, where 350 jins from Brunei, Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Timor-Leste, Vietnam and the Philippines joined.

Mentored by national coach Dindo Simpao, the 16-year-old incoming Grade 11 fighter of National University, formerly of the University of Baguio, showed technical prowess, scoring “at will” while evading every blow thrown at him by his opponents.

In his semifinals match, the 5’8” tall Liporada swamped the 5’10” beanpole Phan Tien Da of Vietnam, 20-3. In that match, Phan only managed to sneak in points via penalties against Liporada.

It was a lopsided finals win for the National University, standout as he claimed a 20-0 beating against another Vietnamese fighter, Huynh Ie Anh Tri, in the finals. Huynh earlier nipped Liporada’s 6’0” compatriot, Kian Ashe, in the other semifinal match.

The ATF utilizes electronic personal scoring system. A hit scores when special socks used by the fighters come in contact with sensors lining the armor and headgear at the right amount of force.

In the 2015 edition of the Vietnam ATF, Liporada, a cadet in the 37-kilogram division, bagged the gold.

Liporada thanked Grandmaster Sung Chon Hong, chief of the Philippine Taekwondo Association, for his success.

“I am just so blessed Grandmaster Hong gave me the opportunity to represent the country in the ATF,” he said.

Three other Baguio fighters joined Liporada in the ATF with Izech Brian Edwin winning a bronze, his stablemates from Baguio Defenders Gym of Arnold Oglayon.

Pasion, meanwhile, took the silver in the ATF. The much bigger La Trinidad fighter (64 kg), who was Liporada’s main rival growing up and from a rival gym here, also earned a slot in the Asian tournament in the Jordan capital, near the 9,000-year-old wonder of Petra.

Pasion, also an incoming Grade 11 student, has been recruited by the University of Santo Tomas Golden Cubs. The two will see action in the University Athletics Association of the Philippines 82nd season.