Timor Leste’s 24-year-old Luisa dos Santos Rosa is considered a SEA Games veteran, having participated in the last two biennial games.
She brought home a bronze medal in her last outing in Myanmar two years ago. Luisa believes her best form is still ahead of her – but to get there, she will need to overcome her biggest fear.
“During fights, I get nervous when I don’t score points. I start asking myself why I didn’t get any points,” said Luisa dos Santos Rosa, exponent, Timor Leste Taekwondo National Team.
In the last two years, Luisa and her teammates have been getting help from a South Korean coach. Besides training in Busan, coach Lee Jaeoh has brought the team to compete at the recent World Taekwondo Championship in Russia.
Lee Jaeoh, Timor Leste Taekwondo National Team’s head coach, said: “They improved a lot since the beginning, but they need experience from international competitions. If they have more experience, maybe they will not be nervous. But they were too nervous, so results were not really good. But I saw their potential.”
If the taekwondo exponents grow in confidence and can bring their ‘A’ game to the four categories that they are competing in, Timor Leste may stand a chance.
Luisa said: “The experiences I gathered from foreign exponents are their superior speed and mental strength. I want to emulate them. I want to win again at the Singapore SEA Games.”
To win a medal, Luisa must give her best fight. But above all, she must fight her own anxieties.
Unlike the other six sports that Timor Leste are participating, there is greater expectation on the taekwondo team to deliver – as they have a Korean coach, undergone overseas training and participated in competition – enough to make them one of the medal contenders in Singapore.