Taekwondo jin Kurt Barbosa is the ninth Filipino to secure their spot in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics after his come-from-behind win against Zaid Al-Halawani during the Asian Taekwondo Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Amman, Jordan on Saturday.

/ 23 May 2021

Barbosa snagged his first Olympic ticket after his comeback win against hometown bet Al-Halawani, 50-49, during the men’s -58kg division semifinals of the OQT.

In the first three rounds, Al-Halawani had the upper hand in the match with a 41-33 lead against the Filipino jin.

Barbosa closed the gap to 48-43 and strike back in the last 30 seconds of the match with two successive body hits and landed his final blow to outlast his opponent and claiming his victory.

According to MVP Sports Foundation president Al Panlilio, the 21-year old jin’s recent win was a reminder for the Filipinos. 

“Kurt Barbosa gave the Filipino people a timely reminder that as long as there’s still time left on the clock, we need to keep fighting,” Panlilio said in a statement. 

“Even if Kurt was down big in the third round, his belief in himself never wavered and now he is an Olympian,” he added.

Barbosa is the lone Philippine bet for taekwondo as fellow Filipino jins Kirstie Alora and Pauline Lopez fell short on their Olympic bid.

Alora settled for bronze in the women’s +67kg event and missed her chance for a second straight Olympic appearance after suffering a 27-5 loss to Uzbekistan’s Svetlana Osipova, while Lopez exited in the women’s -57kg quarterfinal after bowing out to Lebanon’s Laetitia Aoun, 21-10.

Barbosa will be joining gymnast Caloy Yulo, pole vaulter EJ Obiena, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, rower Cris Nievarez and boxers Eumir Marcial, Nesthy Petecio, Irish Magno, and Carlo Paalam in bannering the Philippine flag in the upcoming Summer Games in June.