Torres leads karate team to SEA Games

Karate Pilipinas Davao Regional Director Rommel Tan (left) with Rita Cuadra, Ivan Agustin and Rebecca Cyril Torres.photos provided

If her results at the 9th Southeast Asian Karate Federation (SEAKF) Championships in Cambodia last month are any indication, Rebecca Cyril Torres could be a medal contender at next month’s Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) in Vietnam.

Torres placed second in the women’s individual event at the Royal University of Phnom Penh from March 25 to 27, behind Indonesia’s Putri Aprilla Krisda, while Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Phoung finished third.

The Philippines also won two bronze medals, won by Ivan Agustin (men – 75kg) and Rita Cuadra (women – 55kg).

The SEAKF Championship is to prepare athletes for the SEAG.

“My teammates and I have been training with our coach, teacher Chino Veguillas and teacher Rhodee Saavedra, we are training every day to perform better. The goal is to perform and execute well and the medal will follow come,” the 28-year-old Torres said in an interview with The Manila Times yesterday.

Torres has been competing abroad for 22 years. Her last race before the 9th SEAKF Championship was SEAG 2019, where she won a team bronze medal alongside Nicole Dantes and Ronaldene Flores.

She joined the Karate Club Promotion Association at the age of five and trained under Asian Games and SEAG Gold Medalist Richard Lim, Asian Games Bronze and SEAG Silver Medalist Sonny Montalvo and SEAG Gold Medalist Veguillas.

“My parents signed me up for summer courses when I was young and I chose to continue karate because I loved practicing the sport and because I made friends. At the same time, karate taught me discipline and Courage,” said Torres, who holds a bachelor’s degree in tourism from the University of the Philippines Diliman.

She is currently pursuing a second degree in Exercise Science and Exercise.

Torres, who also plays on the UP track and field team, isn’t the only athlete in the family.

“My dad played baseball when he was in high school, he also played badminton, and now coach Salinggawi peps up the team when she’s in college,” Torres said.

Veguillas described Torres as a very good type of player.

“She’s achieved that by being a very hard worker. And she’s very disciplined and determined,” said the national team coach.

With the right attitude and skill, Torres is poised for success in his second SEAG appearance in Vietnam.

The Philippines finished fifth in the karate medal standings at the last Southeast Asian Games with two golds, one silver and nine bronzes. Malaysia topped the list with four golds and four silvers, followed by Thailand (3-2-3), Vietnam (2-3-6) and Indonesia (2-3-4).

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