Playing inspired in their own turf, 14 Tacurong taekwondo jins amassed gold medals after blowing past their tough opponents in the championship matches of the Mindanao New Face of the Year Taekwondo Championships hosted by the City of Tacurong on November 24-25 at the Tacurong Pilot Elementary School Gym.

 
The Tacurong Jaguars, representing the city in the said tournament, also bagged 17 silver medals and 12 bronzes. However, despite Tacurong Team’s strong effort in the tournament, its medal tally was only good for a first runner-up finish. Dragon Heart Team of General Santos City won the overall championship trophy after getting 19 golds, 10 silvers and 5 bronzes. Defenders Team of Koronadal City was second runner-up with 10 gold medals, 8 silvers, and 6 bronzes.

Jomer Soto, one of the gold medalists for Tacurong, halted his opponent with a jumping back kick in the very first round, while Nico Saavedra, the team’ coach and instructor, stopped his opponent with a brutal axe kick on the face in the second round. The match was stopped by the referee after Saavedra’s opponent suffered a cut below his nose.

The other gold medalists for Tacurong Team were: Renzel Anating, Jowilbert Breboneria, Paulo Joshua Caluya, Jeriel Clarito, Noel Chris John Laforteza, Nikoshi Lapuz, Jaecinth Salvador, Angela Jane Segura, Keansean Tasic, Neejamah Ulangkaya, Keren Jirah Valdez, and Yves Rey Vidal.

The silver medalists meanwhile included Aries Andal, Reeyan Mae Callao, Carlos Diaz, John Daniel Espino, Aaliyah Freno, George Karl Garces, Ivan Malicudio, Florence Ann Mogan, Kean Samuel Momay, Reanold Navarro, Chrstian Kyle Olidan, Andrea Camille Origenes, Regine Marie Paba, Maxine Jane Palpalatoc, Dan Francis Posadas, Alfredo de Tomas, and Mary Angeli Yap.

The following bronze medalists completed the medal haul for Tacurong Team: Arianne Agao-agao, Alex Bañas, Jerrick Braza, Rolf Cabras, Albeth Dimapiles, Kyle Jervis Duadua, Harry Mark Ines, Kim Sheena Iwag, Krish Paola Magbanua, Zayton Mamasalido, Daisy Mae Ortele, and Earl Tristan Trinidad.

Mayor Lina Montilla graced the opening program of the tournament as well as the awarding ceremonies. The mayor was joined by City Councilors Rodrigo Jamorabon, Psyche Sucaldito and Joselito Cajandig. Army Col. Dece Yabo of Joint Task Force Talakudong and Capt. Alex Escalante of 601st Brigade, both supporters of the taekwondo discipline, also watched the tournament.

In her message, Mayor Montilla inspired the delegates after saying that the city will continue to host similar tournaments in the coming years. She added that the city government has already allocated funds for the sport for year 2013.

Tournament Director Master Robert Joshua Danao, who also is the Regional Director and Chairman of Philippine Taekwondo Association Region 12-A, appreciated the continued support of the city government in nurturing taekwondo in the region. “With the untiring support of local governments like Tacurong in the sport, taekwondo will continue to flourish in the region and players will go on excelling in national and even international competitions”, Master Danao said.
 
Councilor Jamorabon, the chairperson of the city’s Taekwondo Council, expressed his gratitude to the city government for hosting the latest tournament. He also thanked the following co-sponsors of the event: 601st Brigade, Joint Task Force Talakudong, Tacurong PNP, Vice Mayor Charito Collado, and Councilors Joseph Lechonsito, Lino Ledda, Psyche Sucaldito, Cirilo Flores, Benjamin Fajardo, Jr., Virgilio Paredes, Ariel dela Cruz, Joselito Cajandig, Sr., Silvestre Llanto and Albert Gulmatico.

Other co-sponsors were the City Schools Division of Tacurong, Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Tacurong Pilot Elementary School, Fortune Place, former ABC President Jose Ganayo, Brgy. Chairman Welson Ferrer, Mr. Erwin Garcia, Mr. Manuel Ang, Mr. Alex Bumatay, Mr. Jesucito Casipit, Mr. Martin Te, , and the parents of Tacurong Jaguars Taekwondo players. (Allan Freno)