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MANILA, Philippines – Antonio Manuel and Sophia Catantan delivered golden performances for Team Philippines in the 1st Hefeng National Junior Fencing Championships on Sunday, May 28, at the New Taipei Municipal Linkou Senior High School in New Taipei City in Taiwan.
The two Filipino teens, part of more than 40 fencers representing Canlas Fencing, both won in dramatic fashions as the club finished the two-day meet with a haul of two gold, one silver, and eight bronze medals.
Catantan bounced back with a masterful 15-4 victory over Taiwan’s Liu Zhiyu to capture the Under-17 gold in the women’s individual foil, right after the promising 13-year-old suffered a controversial semifinal U15 loss to hometown bet Lv Kechen, 15-13.
The 14-year-old Manuel, an incoming Grade 10 student of Paref Northfield, also rebounded from a silver-medal finish in the U17 by bagging a gold in the U15 – overcoming cramps late in the bout – with a come-from-behind 15-11 win against Yang Bingyan of Taiwan.
Aside from Catantan, a Grade 7 at University of the East, and Manuel, other fencers who claimed bronze were foilists Victoria Ebdane in U15, Jodie Tan in U13, and Yuna Canlas in U11, Medivh Boy in U17, Nicol Canlas in U13, and Villacin sisters Alyssa in U19 and Akirra in U7 mixed of sabre.
There were many improved performances, lessons learned and experience gained in the event, including that of Willa Galvez, Hagia del Castillo and Ina Pascual of Republic Fencing in foil; Elise Acuzar, Zoe Atilano, Maiev Boy and Sophia Santiago in sabre; and Sid Peralta in epee.
Galvez, 11, whose international participation was made possible by Converge, Nickel Asia Corporation, San Miguel Corporation, Rain or Shine and NLEX, went undefeated 4-0 in the first round pools to get a bye as the No. 4 seed in the direct elimination.
Although she lost 15-3 against 13-year-old eventual champion Zhou Bingyi of Taiwan in the U13 category, where she ended up ninth overall, CF co-founder Amat Canlas cited it’s an improvement similar to Del Castillo, who competed here two months ago and lost in the first round in U11 but cracked the top eight in the same division this time.
“It’s a good experience for Filipino fencers because they were able to fight against tough and quality fencers here. Aside from local fencers here, there were also participants from Korea and Malaysia,” said Canlas, a former national team head coach who co-founded CF with Sally Aramburo.
Pascual made it to the top eight in U13 foil, same as Acucar in her first international event since moving to sabre in U11, and Boy in U17, while reaching the top 16 were Santiago at ninth in U17, Atilano at No. 13 in U17, and Peralta at No. 16 in U15. – Rappler.com