ACL injury limits fencer Samantha Catantan | Inquirer Sports
FENCING

ACL injury limits fencer Samantha Catantan

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 05:30 AM June 04, 2023

Philippines' Samantha Kyle Catantan (L) competes with Singapore's Denyse Chan Wan Jing in the women's foil team fencing final during the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in Hanoi on May 17, 2022. (Photo by TANG CHHIN SOTHY / AFP)

Philippines’ Samantha Kyle Catantan (L) competes with Singapore’s Denyse Chan Wan Jing in the women’s foil team fencing final during the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in Hanoi on May 17, 2022. (Photo by TANG CHHIN SOTHY / AFP)

Samantha Catantan heard a snap before she went down on her left knee during the recent Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury that will sideline the country’s brightest hope in women’s fencing for at least six months has likewise narrowed her pathway toward the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“I hope she can still make it. If by January she has recovered already, Sam still has a three-month window to qualify [to Paris],’’ said Ormoc representative and Philippine Fencing Association (PFA) president Richard Gomez.

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Catantan had two avenues going to the Olympics prior to her injury, one through individual rankings defined by points earned until April 1, 2024 and the other through a continental tournament where the champion in women’s foil books a Paris ticket.

Penn State’s top fencer can no longer go the rankings route and will have to focus on the lone Asia-Oceania zonal tournament from April 15 to 30 next year.

The 21-year-old SEA Games gold medalist came close to bagging an Olympic spot in the 2021 Tokyo after finishing in the semifinals of the Asia-Oceania qualification meet.

‘Difficult’

Sam Catantan wears a brace after huring her knee during a SEA Games 2023 match.

Sam Catantan wears a brace after huring her knee during a SEA Games 2023 match.

“It will be difficult if she lacks training. It will test her spirit and her will, but she’s a strong person,’’ said Gomez, also the Philippine Olympic Committee second vice president.

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Catantan handily won over Singapore’s Kemei Cheung during the semifinals of women’s foil in the recent SEA Games in Cambodia, but had to withdraw from the final due to her injury.

She twisted her left knee near the end of their duel, but prevailed, 15-6, to arrange a final match with Singapore’s Maxine Jie Xin Wong.

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“Sam was a heavy favorite in that match. It could have been a gold for us, but we don’t want to risk it,’’ said Gomez.

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TAGS: Injury, Samantha Catantan

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