Fil-Am teen is Olympic-bound on US junior karate team
LAS VEGAS, NV — This is 18-year-old Joseph Tolentino. At five feet, five inches, he is fierce and valiant, and a member of the Olympic-bound, US Karate junior national team.
“Speed and just faith, I feel like I’m faster, cleaner, and more pogi than all of them Filipinos,” said Tolentino.
Joseph has come a long way since he started karate at 5 years old.
“This is my life its my love and passion I still separate hanging out with friends, but karate is my life.”
“Ang support factor I think napakalaki ang factor ng magulang sa training ng bata . Kase ang daming magagaling na atleta pero pag walang suporta ang bata nasasayang kahit walang pera I will give my best all the support I need,” said his coach and father, Ronald Tolentino.
Joseph is officially a member of the 18-20 year old male elite Kata division in the US Karate junior national team, and is on the road to the 2020 Olympics.
“Karate is about to take a big leap forward, considering the Olympics coming around the competition the level of intensity with all the other athletes its tough, you really got to dedicate your life to it,” he said.
“I have to support him because these are the things that he like and he really do good about it. Magaling siya,” said his mom Lea. “Hindi sa because anak ko siya alam ko magaling siya thats why we support him.”
Before qualifying for the Olympic team, Joseph had to enter numerous competitions throughout the US.
But he says all the sleepless nights and sacrifice has paid off.
“You cant be perfect, you could try, I could try over and over again — but the beauty about karate is there’s gonna be someone better than you always no matter what. One day you’re gonna be the champion, but it could just be because your its your lucky day.”
Joseph, who takes pride in his Bicolano roots, says he is focused on his karate training, and is determined to bring home a gold medal in 2020.
Joseph will represent the US at World Karate Federation Junior Pan American karate championship, which will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina this August 21-27.