Monsour del Rosario believes Filipino jin Kurt Barbosa has what it takes to succeed in the Tokyo Olympics.
The champion taekwondo fighter turned actor-politician said Barbosa possesses the heart and courage, as shown by the way he qualified for the Olympics.
"(In) his fight in the qualifying, he was losing but he never gave up. Kurt has a heart of a fighter, he is a champion already just by making it to the Olympics," Del Rosario said in an interview on the ABS-CBN News sports podcast "Post-Game."
He was referring to the way Barbosa pulled off a come from behind victory against Zaid Al-Halawani of Jordan 2021 Asian Taekwondo Olympic Qualification tournament despite trailing by a huge margin.
The match even took place at his opponent turf in Jordan.
"For us to qualify pa lang malaking bagay na iyan, but you never know. I didn't expect him na malusutan pa niya ang kalaban niya doon, hometown pa, naedgeout niya last minute, hindi siya nag-give up. 'Yan ang Filipino fighter, pag inalaagaan mo ang Filipino athlete hindi susuko yun," said Del Rosario, who represented the Philippines in the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
Del Rosario certainly knows the feeling of being among the world best as he competed in high level taekwondo in the late 1980's. He won several gold medals in the Southeast Asian Games and copped a bronze medal in the 10th Asian Games.
Now that Barbosa has qualified, he is stepping into the next level of competition, said Del Rosario.
"For him to win a gold medal is very stiff, uphill climb, but I know he's very well supported by the association. Naka house in sa training, his family is very supportive of his career, he is the hope for all taekwondo practitioners to hopefully strike medal," he said.
"Ang maipapayo ko sa kanya... When you step into the ring, turn your fear into fire. Nobody can coach desire... pag nasa loob ka na, kahit anong sabihin ng coach mo kung wala kang desire na manalo, wala kang magagawa," said Del Rosario.
"As an athlete, (Barbosa) has a lot of heart. There's a saying that the will of a person will be stronger than the skill."
“Post-Game” is the ABS-CBN News sports podcast.
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