GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Southeast Asian Games multi-medalist David Cea missed the golden opportunity of ending the country’s medal drought in World Taekwondo Championship as he dropped a heartbreaking 1-2 decision to no. 5 seed Fras Katousi of Tunisia in their tightly fought quarterfinal match in the men’s lightweight class (-74kgs) on Thursday (Friday Manila time) at the Centro Acuatico CODE Metropolitano.
The small SMART/MVP Sports Foundation Philippine delegation, which included head of delegation former Senator Anna Dominique ‘Nikki’ Coseteng was already in frenzy after the 24-year-old pride of Butuan City took a 1-0 lead in his best-of-three match against his 6’5” rival.
But bad breaks struck the 5’9” Cea, allowing the Tunisian giant to tie the score at 1-1 en route to the win.
“Ang hirap umatake, dahil ang haba ng mga paa. ‘Pag pinasok ko sa loob, feeling ko mas lalo siyang makakaiskor. Tama naman ‘yung adjustment ko, ‘yun lang nasingitan tayo,” said Cea.
With coach Caloy Padilla on his side, Cea delivered the final strategy to steal the momentum, but the height advantage of the Tunisian was too much to handle as he totally controlled the match.
“We’re almost there. We were just two minutes away from the bronze. Talagang manghihinayang tayo, pero ganyan talaga. Dave proved he deserved a place in the team, talagang ginawa niya ang lahat, pero kinulang lang,” said team manager Rocky Samson.
“Lalong nakakahinayang na natalo lang yung kalaban sa player na sa tingin namin kakayanin ni Dave sa istilo,” added Samson.
Katousi loss his semifinal duel with eventual champion Daniel Quesada of Spain.
It was a promising start for Cea after he dominated Yasuhiro Hamada of Japan, 2-0 in his first match, followed by a 2-1 win against Mexican star Rene Lizarraga, before beating Columbian Juan Sebastian, 2-0.
Cea was the third fighter from the team to miss the medal podium following the loss of Leila Delo in the women’s class and Alfritz Arevalo in the men’s -68kgs.
Next to try are Joseph Chua who starts his bid in the men’s 63ks against Niko Saarinen of Finland and Baby Jessica Canabal against Bulgarian Selen Gunduz in women’s -43kgs on Friday (Saturday in Manila).
Tokyo Olympics veteran Kurt Bryan Barbosa closes the Philippine Team campaign here on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) as he faces Sanoh Lancery of the Republic of Guinea.