MANILA, Philippines – After sustaining what is suspected to be an ACL injury during the Korea Open last week, Antoinette Rivero’s medal bid in the Guangzhou Asian Games in November may have suffered a severe blow.
The Philippine Taekwondo Association (PTA) Friday said Rivero will undergo two checkups during the weekend to determine if she can recover from the injury on her right knee.
A two-time member of the Philippine team to the Olympics (2004 and 2008), Rivero settled for the silver medal in the 2006 Doha Asian Games and remains the country’s top bet in the sport.
A full recovery from an ACL injury is pegged between four to six months.
Rivero sustained the injury in the first-round of her welterweight match in a tournament that was the taekwondo’s last foreign exposure before the Asian Games scheduled Nov. 12 to 27.
“Pag-landing niya sa mat after ng atake nya, dun na bumigay,” said RP team coach Rocky Samson.
“I’ll still wait for the results of her check up (today). Kung ano ang sasabihin ng mga duktor, susundin naman namin.”
Aside from Rivero, featherweight Jeffrey Figueroa is also under observation following a light knee injury he also sustained during the same tournament. Samson, however, is optimistic that the veteran jin will recover before the Asian Games.
The initial lineup for the Asian Games included Rivero, Jyra Lizardo (flyweight), Elaine Alora (middle), Jade Zafra (bantam), Karla Alava (feather) and Camille Manalo (light) in the women’s team and Japoy Lizardo (fin), Nicole Mapilisan (fly), Marlon Avenido (welter) and Olympian Tshomlee Go (bantam) in the men’s division.
In the event Rivero is ruled unfit to take part, Samson will tap Alora to take her place.
Samson has also yet to decide between middleweight Alex Briones and lightweight Butch Morrison to fill in the last seat in the men’s squad. The Philippine Olympic Committee has given him until Wednesday next week to finalize the men’s line-up.
The RP team is currently training at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex with 24-man Korean squad, half of whom are going to the Asian Games. The Koreans arrived Wednesday night.
“Skill-wise, nakikita kong pantay-pantay naman sila ng mga Koreanong nagti-training dito. Kailangan lang talaga ng mga atleta natin ng sparring sessions. Yun ang importante,” Samson said.
Kristel Satumbaga, Manila Bulletin