KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – An emotional Kirstie Elaine Alora offered no excuses following another heartbreaking setback to a familiar foe in the finals of the women's -73kg division in the 29th Southeast Asian Games on Tuesday at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center.
Facing off once more against Cambodia's Sorn Seavmey, Alora fell agonizingly short as her opponent used every inch of her height and reach advantage en route to a 13-6 win to grab the gold medal.
It marked the third straight time that Alora lost to the 6-foot tall Cambodian, a streak that is clearly in the mind of the Rio Olympian.
"Ilang beses na niya ako tinalo," admitted Alora. "I think this is the fourth time, and the third straight."
"Usually, sa finals kami nagtatapat talaga," she added. "So, ayun, that's it."
Alora acknowledged that Sorn's height and reach advantage is tricky for her to navigate. "Pag magi-intercept na ako, mas nauuna pa rin ang tukod niya," she explained.
"But still," Alora added, "I think ito na 'yung pinaka-best fight ko rin against her."
Alora is taking heart in her effort against Sorn as she turns her focus to the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) in September in Turkmenistan, where she hopes to get another shot at the Cambodian star.
"Big possibility pa rin na magtatapat kami sa AIMAG," said Alora, who settled for the silver medal for the second straight SEA Games.
Alora is not the only Filipino jin who is looking forward to the AIMAG. The entire taekwondo team is setting their sights on the competition in Ashgabat after a disappointing performance in the SEA Games that saw them bring home two golds, three silvers, and three bronze – a poorer output from their three gold, three silver, and two bronze medal haul in the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore.
"We need to prepare the athletes and keep them in good condition," said national team coach Dindo Simpao. "We need to avoid these injuries, and prepare for these upcoming tournaments."
The AIMAG, added Simpao, will likely give the taekwondo team a glimpse of how they will fare in the Asian Games next year.
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