Monsour del Rosario, for many years the face of Philippine taekwondo, believes it isn't safe yet for full-contact competition. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
Jocel Ninobla won an online taekwondo tournament for poomsae (form). Handout/file
Former taekwondo champion Monsour del Rosario said Filipino jins might have to settle for online tournaments for now, as the world searches for an antidote to COVID-19.
Because it is not yet safe to hold full-contact taekwondo, del Rosario said holding poomsae (form) competitions virtually, like the one in which Filipinos won over the weekend, is a safer option.
"Hanggang wala tayong nakukuhang gamot sa coronavirus, mas safe na ganyan lang muna. Hanggang poomsae lang. Hindi pa pwede ang combat sport kasi malapitan talaga at baka magkahawahan riyan," Del Rosario said Thursday.
Three Filipino taekwondo jins, led by 3-time UAAP poomsae champion Jocel Ninobla, won gold in the inaugural Online Daedo Open European Poomsae Championships
The tournament, an experimental event organized by the European Taekwondo Union, was staged to encourage taekwondo amid the pandemic.
Ninobia topped the under-30 female division on Sunday, garnering scores of 7.53 during her Koryo performance and 7.60 in Pyongwon for a total average score of 7.565.
At the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, she struck gold in the women's recognized individual event and earned a silver in the women's recognized team event.
Ninobla's father, June, also won first place in the under-60 category, while former world champion Ernesto Guzman Jr. ruled the under-40 class.
Jocel Ninobla performs a routine from the comforts of her home. Courtesy of the UAAP
According to Del Rosario, former secretary-general of the Philippine Taekwondo Association, the sport's national governing body, taekwondo, like many sports, has been badly hit by the lockdown.
"May epekto ito lalo na sa mga magko-compete sa international competitions. Ngayon nasa bahay lang silang mga athletes. Kailangan silang mag-training mag-isa para ma-maintain lang ang fitness nila, speed, power. Pero hangga't hindi sila makapag-sparring, mahirap," he said.
"Kung poomsae OK lang, makakapag-practice ka hanggang maging perfect ang execution mo."
The COVID-19 pandemic also affected those who were making a living out of the sport.
He said there are more than 500 instructors throughout the country who are financially dependent on taekwondo.
"Itong summer, April, May, June, ito 'yung mga panahong kung saan sila kumikita. Ang mga instructors kasi ang kabuhayan nila taekwondo, ito ang peak ng season," del Rosario said.
"Kung ano'ng kinita mo ng summer buhay ka na sa buong taon. Iyon ang nakakalungkot, mayroon silang mga gym, club pero hindi makapagturo dahil sa COVID-19. Apektado ang hanapbuhay nila."
Del Rosario said he hopes scientists will be able to find a cure or that the virus disappears soon.
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