Kurt Barbosa finished his Olympic campaign Saturday when his Round of 16 opponent, South Korean Jang Jun, failed to advance to the finals of the men’s 58kg event in Tokyo.
In their earlier match at the Makuhari Messe Hall, the Filipino taekwondo jin was defeated by Jang 26-6.
Barbosa therefore needed Jang, the world number one, to reach the finals in order for the Filipino to go to the repechage stage, where he could compete for a bronze medal.
Unfortunately for Barbosa, No. 12 seed Mohammed Khalil Jendoubi of Tunisia dashed those aspirations in the semifinal round, defeating Jang 16-11.
Jendoubi was on fire from the start, forcing Jang to rally to equalize the score at 5-5 at the end of the first round. Jendoubi, however, had the upper hand throughout the fight.
A video replay was requested in the final 25 seconds of the third round to see whether Jang would earn a red card for grabbing. Despite the interruption, Jendoubi continued to pull away, putting an end to South Korea’s Olympic gold hopes.
Despite not progressing further at the Tokyo Olympics, Barbosa is glad for the chance to represent the Philippines on the world’s biggest stage.
The 22-year-old from Bangued, Abra stunned the Asian qualifiers by defeating the No. 2 seed and rebounding from a 15-point deficit to secure a spot in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.