Top PH fencer Catantan bows out in World Championships

Waylon Galvez

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Top PH fencer Catantan bows out in World Championships

DUEL. Samantha Catantan of the Philippines avoids the blade with a parry against Sena Hong of South Korea during their bout in the Round of 64 in the Worlds.


Filipino fencer Samantha Catantan falls short of her bid to advance to the Round of 32 after yielding to Korea’s Sena Hong

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino fencing bet Samantha Catantan’s bid to advance to the Round of 32 failed to materialize as she suffered a 15-8 loss to Sena Hong of South Korea in the Final 64 of the 2022 Fencing World Championships on Tuesday, July 19 at the Cairo International Stadium in Cairo, Egypt.

Catantan was aiming for a first ever stint in the Round of 32, but it was not meant to be as Hong took control of the bout in the third and final three-minute round.

With the score tied at 6-all, Hong connected 6 straight points for a commanding 12-6 lead with 1 minute and 40 seconds left in the round.

The 20-year-old Catantan – the gold medal winner in women’s foil in the Hanoi Southeast Asian Games – even challenged the 12th point of Hong, but the decision stood after a video review.

The closest Catantan got was when she cut the deficit to 12-8.

However, the Korean fencer scored 3 consecutive points that gave her the victory in the first round of the main direct eliminations and into the Round of 32 of the tournament.

Hong will next face Filipino-American fencer Lee Kiefer, the gold medalist in the Tokyo Olympics who won her first bout in the Round of 64 against No. 64 Katina Proestakis of Ukraine, 15-5.

Kiefer is the top seed and among the 16 outright qualifiers in the event.

As for Catantan, that defeat in the Round of 64 ended her solid campaign in the tournament where she finished the pool play with a 5-1 record and was the top player in the initial knockout stage last Saturday.

In the main draw for the Round of 64, Catantan got the 33rd seed.

She is expected to finish in the Top 50 out of 118 women’s foil fencers in the competition, an accomplishment as she eclipsed her personal best of 63rd overall during the 2018 event in Wuxi, China.

“I was not expecting that I’d be seeded, right away after pools. I normally get low seeding due to my international ranking. In fact I was ranked fourth in my pool,” Catantan told Rappler on Monday, July 18.

“Of course, beating my personal record has always been my goal.” 

Now, focus is on her campaign in the US NCAA and in the World Cup, as well as World Grand Prix competitions in an effort to improve her world ranking to be able to qualify in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Catantan is an incoming third year student at Penn State University where she is a student-athlete – the first homegrown Filipino fencer to earn an athletic scholarship in a US NCAA school.

In the pooling of the world event, Catantan edged Gabriela del Padua of Puerto Rico, 5-2; Hungary’s Anna Poltz, 5-4; Mayuri Muralidharan of Australia, 5-2; Hong Kong’s Kimberley Vanessa Cheung, 5-3; and Kanagalakshmi Vinayakam Paranjothi of India, 5-0.

The only defeat in her opening-round campaign was a 5-4 loss to Irem Karamete of Turkey. – Rappler.com

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