Association for the Advancement of Karatedo (AAK) Davao hauled 9 medals at the close of the 14-nation 18th Milo International Open Karate Championships at the Cheras Indoor Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Sunday.
John Paul Ponce made it back-to-back gold medals in the tournament that attracted 814 entries reigning supreme in the above 55-kg 12-13 boys division.
Ponce, a standout of Precious International School, followed up his bronze medal finish in another Malaysia tournament—the Kota Kinabalu Open last March.
University of Immaculate Conception’s Kyzzhia Pauline Navarro and rookie John Philip Cagandahan also had breakthrough gold medal finishes to give AAK Davao an impressive harvest of 3 golds, 5 silvers and 1 bronze.
Navarro, who won a silver in Kota Kinabalu, took the gold in the girls kumite 10 to 11 yrs old below 45-kg division while Cagandahan snatched the gold in his first try in the below 55-kg boys 12 to 13 yrs old class.
The three-gold bounty negated the loss of three-peat seeking Atsuko Kaiyel Tan to her bigger Malaysian foe in the 6-7 yrs old girls kata to settle for the silver.
Also winning silvers were Jam Ramirez in the below 63-kg cadets kumite,
Seth Michael Navarro in the boys kumite, and the troika of Ponce, Cagandahan and Ramirez in the team kata.
Seth Michael Navarro also added a bronze in kata.
Janna Ramirez and Marcus Arellano, the other members of the team, reached the quarterfinals of the tough annual tournament.
The 7-year old Tan, daughter of AAK Davao chapter manager and head coach Rommel Tan, won a gold and bronze medal performance in her last international stint in the 3rd Kuala Lumpur Open last December. In the 2015 and 2016 editions of the tournament, the child prodigy bagged the kata gold medal in the 6 years old category.
Ponce and Jam Ramirez, who like Tan have won the prestigious So Kim Cheng Athlete of the Year award, became multi-winners of the event with their recent podium finishes.
The team is backed up by Beefit Gym, Davao City Sports Council, Engr. Celso Manaois, Jay Ramirez, Miguel Ramirez, Randy Magallanes and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).