Sakura Alforte looks to anchor stronger karate showing in Asian Games – rezal404
Sakura Alforte intends to ride a wave of triumph straight to the 19th Asian Games.
“One tournament I’m looking forward to is the Asian Games (Asiad). I’ve been thinking about it everyday,” said the 20-year-old kata specialist, who topped her last three international tournaments in a span of three months.
Alforte, ranked second in the world in the under-21 women’s kata, struck gold in the women’s kata event during the Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia last month.
She also obliterated the field in the Karate 1 Youth League A in Coruna, Spain, in April right after showing great promise in winning the Southeast Asian Championship in March.
“My opponents in the Asian Games are really good and nothing’s really sure in this competition,” said Alforte, a third-year international liberal studies student at Waseda University in Shinjuku City, Japan.
Alforte is one of three podium hopes for Team Philippines in the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, slated on Sept. 23 to Oct. 8, with kumite fighters Jamie Lim and Junna Tsukii expected to figure in the medal rounds.
They have been booked to compete in the Asian Karate Championships from July 17 to 23 in Melaka, Malaysia, with 16 other karatekas before setting up camp in Istanbul, Turkey, for two months.
“I’ll just focus on the things that I’m capable of doing on the mat,” said Alforte, who qualified to the World Beach Games in Bali, Indonesia, on Aug. 5 to 12.
The Filipino-Japanese Alforte, who grew up in Manila before her family migrated to Japan after her high school years, is the only Southeast Asian entry in the karate competitions of the World Beach Games outside the sure entries of host Indonesia.
Alforte placed third in the 2022 World Karate Federation U21 World Championships in Konya, Turkey, after a bronze performance in the Asian Championships in Kazakhstan back in December 2021.
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