POC president confident taekwondo jin Alora can earn medal
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – As Kirstie Elaine Alora moved two days away from the big match, everybody around her exuded confidence that she can deliver the goods here.
Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose Cojuangco said as long as the 26-year-old taekwondo jin lives up to expectations, she can win a medal for the Philippines.
Cojuangco is unfazed that Alora has Mexico’s Maria Espinoza as her first opponent. The +67 kg match takes place Saturday morning (Saturday evening in Manila).
Cojuangco, who visited Alora at the Athletes Village Thursday, said, “Mananalo yan.”
Espinosa, 26, is no ordinary athlete.
The Mexican won the gold in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and as flag-bearer of the Mexican delegation to the 2012 London Games, she bagged the bronze medal.
Yet, everybody’s confident, including Alora herself.
“Naglaban na kami after siya manalo sa Beijing (Olympics). Nanalo siya (2-1) pero kaya naman,” said Alora, at 26 two years younger.
(We already fought after she won in Beijing. She won, but I can take her.)
The only remaining Filipino athlete in this Games got an added boost with the arrival of her parents, Lito and Marilou, from Alaska Thursday morning.
Her sister, Kathlyn, was scheduled to arrive from Manila in the evening.
Alora said her family being here in time for her opening match means something to her. She said it’s morale-boosting.
“Of course, masaya ako. Extra motivation sa akin,” she said.
(Of course, I'm happy. That's extra motivation for me.)
“We have high hopes for Elaine. She did well preparing for this Olympics. She arrived here earlier than needed and she has fully acclimatized,” said Romasanta.
“She has a very nice attitude and she’s well-motivated and very relaxed. That’s important. We are looking forward to a very competitive Alora,” said the chef-de-mission.
Alora’s coach, former SEA Games finweight king Roberto “Kitoy” Cruz, is just as confident.
The arrival of Alora’s family members is a boost for Alora’s morale, saying for a young athlete who’s been away from home for nearly a month now, their presence is needed.
“It’s a morale booster. Of course, she’s homesick. We’ve been here for almost a month now,” said Romasanta.
“Elaine is very confident she will be able to solve the fighting style of the Mexican," added the chef-de-mission. – Rappler.com