by Rey Bancod
Jayson Macaalay remembers crying in one corner the last time karate was held in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games four years ago in Jakarta.
“Hindi ko napigilang umiyak dahil wala kaming nakuha kahit na isang medalya,” says Macaalay, one of the country’s top gold medal prospects in the Kuala Lumpur Games in August.
Macaalay, who will make his third Games appearance, vows to win the gold medal in the -60 kilogram category.
“Gagawin ko ang lahat ng aking makakaya para manalo,” says the 25-year-old karateka who won the bronze in his SEAG debut in 2011.
Macaalay says he’s a better fighter than he was four years ago.
“Mas maganda ang timing ko ngayon at malaki po ang aking kumpyansa,” he says.
Macaalay showed his potential when he won the gold medal in the recent Thailand Open, the first time he came out on top in an international competition.
To fully prepare for the Games, Macaalay says he took a break in studies. He only has one semester left before completing a Hotel and Restaurant Management degree at the University of Luzon in Dagupan, Pangasinan.
“Tamang-tama. Kasi yung OJT (on-the-job training) ko sa next semester pa,” he says.
A native of Dagupan, Macaalay stays at Philsports in Pasig where the team also trains under Iranian coach Ali Parvinsar.
Macaalay says they train twice a day during Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and devote Tuesdays and Thursdays for physical conditioning.
They work out even on Saturdays, according to Macaalay.
The new scoring system gives premium to the fighter that scores first, according to Macaalay.
“Kasi kung ang laban natapos na tabla, yung unang umiskor ang bibigyan ng panalo,” he explains.
Although the karate association has yet to name the final lineup, Macaalay is already a shoo-in by virtue of his outstanding performance in the recent Thailand Open.
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