Taekwondo’s Kirk Barbosa, tennis’ Jeson Patrombon and tanker Jessie Lacuna start their chase for the ultimate prize in their respective sports when they plunge into action against the best the world can offer in the 2010 Youth Olympic Games starting Sunday in Singapore.
The stakes will be sky high and so is the pressure for Barbosa, Patrombon and Lacuna, who are all going for nothing less than a win that should bolster not only their chances to medal but also inspire the rest of the nine-man RP delegation.
The 16-year-old Lacuna will be the first do battle as he competes in the 200-meter freestyle event starting at 9:30 a.m. at the Singapore Sports School while Patrombon gets to show his wares when tennis unfolds half an hour later at the Kellang Tennis Center.
The 15-year-old Barbosa, a wild card entry, for his part, opens his campaign in the flyweight division at 2:30 p.m. at the International Convention Center although his chances hinges on the luck of the draw.
RP chief de mission Mark Joseph, who arrived here as early as Monday, thinks all three are strong medal contenders.
“Swimmer Jessie Lacuna is ranked seventh in the 200m freestyle in the world while taekwondo jin Kirk Barbosa is ranked in the top 10,” said Joseph.
“As for Patrombon, he has two chances, one competing along and another as part of the doubles team with a choice of three top Asians as his partner.
“These Asians are all ranked in top 10 in the world so they will pull him up and if he plays his game right, he could medal there too,” added the swim chief.
Everything though will hinge on the pairing.
“We are still waiting for the draws on tennis and taekwondo as you know this will spell how or if they will proceed higher, especially Barbosa,” said Joseph.
“In taekwondo, if Barbosa draws a weaker competitor and wins that match, he would automatically clinch the bronze medal,” he added.
Any medal here would mean the first for the country in this 13-day event—done exclusively for youth athletes—staged for the first.(pr)