Chief of the Portuguese Taekwondo Federation: “We are highly positive for the European Championships” – Sports

The Portugal Taekwondo Federation (PORTKD) has “very promising outlooks” for the selection of 16 athletes for the Belgrade Europeans, happening from Friday to Sunday, with the organization’s president expressing confidence in achieving “at least one medal”.

“We have very promising outlooks. We are heading with a very young and highly motivated team. By 2024, we feel that we have a much more cohesive team, as the athletes are starting to participate in some competitions together. A sense of national team is starting to develop, which gives us extra motivation. We have gained some experience, so we are very optimistic,” Nuno Semedo told Lusa.

Considering this, the leader acknowledges that the federation would be “pleased to bring back at least one medal”, deeming that such an accomplishment would be “very positive and deserving of the effort put in by these athletes”.

“Sometimes it’s a bit unfair to pinpoint which one of them (has better chances of success), as it is a discipline with many surprises and depends on the draw. I highlight Matilde Ferreira, who participated in the Olympic selection event, and Maisa Monteiro, who is in the Olympic hopes. But this doesn’t mean that all my odds are on them. However, statistics point to the athletes with the best international ranking,” he argued.

Rui Bragança, the greatest reference in the history of the discipline, with appearances in the Rio’2016 and Tokyo’2020 Olympics, recently retired from the sport, while Júlio Ferreira and Joana Cunha, who share with the Guimarães native the status of Portuguese athletes with the best international results, may also exit high-level competition this year.

“Even if they don’t continue, the sports community has learned a lot from these athletes, we have been able to learn from them, through their journey, results, through the good and not so good things. It’s inevitable that we manage to have athletes following the same path,” Nuno Semedo trusts.

Despite the Portuguese taekwondo failing to qualify for Paris’2024, the leader, who is serving the third and final term at PORTKD, is “confident” in the future of the discipline, whether through the quality of athletes or through the transition of knowledge within the federation.

“We have a group of athletes who are working hard so that in a short time, we can once again bring Portuguese taekwondo back into the limelight of international stages,” he concluded.

Joana Cunha (-57 kg), who has been the leading female figure of the sport in Portugal in recent years, declined participation, as did Manuel Martinho (-87 kg).

List of selected athletes:

– Male: Diego Santos (54 kg), Tiago Lopes (-58 kg), Alfredo Martins (-63 kg), Tiago Reis (-68 kg), Lucian Procopciuc (-74 kg), Júlio Ferreira (-80 kg), Gonçalo Silva (-87 kg), and João Diogo (+87 kg).

– Female: Patrícia Salgueiro (-46 kg), Matilde Ferreira (-49 kg), Filipa Bastos (-53 kg), Leonor Correia (-57 kg), Maisa Monteiro (-62 kg), Sara Vital (-67 kg), Joana Cardoso (-73 kg), and Cristiana Cardoso (+73 kg)

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