MANILA, March 4, 2004  (STAR) Petron president Khalid Al-Faddagh renewed Petronís commitment to support the national taekwondo team for international competitions such as the Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games, Olympics and World Championships.

The Petron chief executive reiterated his companyís continuing support during a courtesy call made by the RP team that won five golds, three silvers and five bronzes in the 22nd Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam.

"We will continue to support the national contingent in all major competitions, including the World Taekwondo Championships, SEA Games, Asian Games, and very soon, the Olympics in Athens. Our victorious taekwondo jins from the SEA Games offer the best chances for the country to win in the World Championships, and hopefuly, garner our first ever Olympic gold medal," Khalid said.

The teamís medal winners were warmly received by Petron officials led by Petron chairman Nicasio Alcantara and Al-Faddagh during a simple awards ceremony at the Petron Megaplaza building.

Petron also gave each gold medalist a cash bonus of P50,000, silver medalist P25,000 and bronze medal winner P10,000.

The gold medalists were Donald David Geisler III (lightweight, Dax Alberto Morfe (heavyweight), Margarita Bonifacio (middleweight), Veronica Domingo (lightweight) and Mary Antoinette "Toni" Rivero (featherweight).

The silver medal winners were Dindo Simpao (middleweight), Alexander Briones (welterweight) and Kalindi Tamayo (bantamweight). Bronze medals were won by Roberto Cruz (finweight), Jeferthom Go (flyweight), Manuel Rivero Jr. (bantamweight), Ann Margaret Boyle (heavyweight), Sally Solis (welterweight), and Eva Marie Ditan (finweight).

"We have always been a staunch supporter of Philippine taekwondo since it not only showcases the talent of our athletes but also teaches the value of discipline, hard work, and persistence to our youth," said Alcantara. "Aside from our national team, we are also supporting the development of taekwondo at the grassroots level. We hope to inspire and develop more young athletes in the near future."

Under the stewardship of Korean master Sung Chung Hong, head of the team and the undisputed godfather of the sport in the Philippines, the team has gained a reputation as force to be reckoned with.

Margie Bonifacio, a 5-5 social science undergraduate at the Ateneo, survived a sudden death match with two crucial technical points to nip her Vietnamese counterpart in the womenís heavyweight division. Veronica Domingo, 5-8, used her strength in the roundhouse, axe and head kicks to score a come-from-behind win over her Vietnamese opponent. The youngest in the team, Toni Rivero, a 15-year-old, 5-8 sophomore at St. Paulís College, Pasig, displayed mastery in both successive attacks and defense over her Singaporean rival for the featherweight gold.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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