PH fencers bag seven SEA tourney golds
Back in 2022, the Philippine fencing team spent nearly half of the year training inside a bubble in Ormoc City.
The strategy is bearing fruit as the national fencers bagged a sack of medals, including seven golds, in the 2023 Southeast Asian (SEA) Fencing Federation Championships in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Aside from winning, the country also got a glimpse of potential competitors in the 32nd SEA Games in Cambodia that will be held in May.
“We expect that most of the competitors that participated will be playing in the SEA Games as well,’’ fencing coach Ramil Endriano told the Inquirer, while adding that despite the watered-down field, it was enough to give the national team an early gauge.
“Not all of the best fencers in the region are there, but the competition somehow showed us a glimpse of what to expect,’’ Endriano said.
Noelito Jose ruled the men’s individual épée and Wilhemina Lozada topped the women’s individual foil. Even better, the team did some future-proofing with podium finishes from the junior ranks.
Team Philippines got a lone gold medal in the SEA Games in Vietnam last year courtesy of Samantha Catantan in the women’s individual foil while Nathaniel Perez (men’s individual foil) and Jose (individual men’s épée) added a silver each.
Catantan likewise anchored the women’s team to a silver in the foil with Maxine Esteban, Justine Gail Tinio and Lozada.
“Based on the performances of our fencers, I feel that we are in a good position to win three gold medals in Cambodia,’’ said Endriano. “The bubble training in Ormoc really contributed to the improvement of the team.’’
Philippine Fencing Association president Richard Gomez, the Ormoc City representative in Congress, has been hosting bubble trainings for the national team since 2021.
Up next for the national the country’s fencers is a training camp in Hong Kong a month prior to the SEA Games, which is slated May 5 to 17 in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh.
There’s also the world championships for women’s épée and foil in Korea in March and a world championships for men’s sabre in China.
Junior fencers collected five gold medals with Andre Agatep winning the men’s junior individual saber apart from victories in the junior team saber (Enrico Suplico, Ram Jimenez, Tomas Robert Cabrera), women’s junior team épée (Alexa Larrazabal, Ashely Harrison, Ivana Salvador, Martina Baccay), women’s junior team foil (Janna Catantan, Baccay, Hannah Belarmino, Miyake Capina) and women’s junior team saber (Arianna Tiu, Kaikaku dela Serna, Meagan Co Say and Maiev Tyra de Boy.
Team Philippines bagged seven golds, four silvers and 10 bronzes from the tournament. INQ