Eleven athletes, led by Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) silver medalist Samantha Kyle Catantan, will compete in the Junior and Cadets World Fencing Championships in Italy next month.
The other members of the team that will leave on April 4 are Maxine Isabel Esteban, Maricar Matienzo, Sammuel Tranquilan, Prince John Felipe, Lance Tan and Reynaldo Perez Jr. (foil); Miggy Bautista and Jaymidelos Santos (epee); and Carla Arreza and Daniel Britanico (saber).
Catantan won the silver while Esteban pocketed the bronze in the women's individual foil event of the SEAG in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last year.
Last week, the team of Catantan, Esteban, Matienzo, and AnicaAbaquin bagged the bronze medal in the Asian Junior and Cadet Fencing Championships at the Hamdan Sports Complex in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
An estimated 1,250 athletes from 120 countries are joining the World Championships scheduled on April 1-9 held at the Cattolica Canter in Verona, which is a city in northern Italy’s Veneto region.
According to head coach Rolando Canlas, the tournament in Italy is part of the national team's long-term program and preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
"It will be the first time that the Philippines will have more entries in a world tournament. Last year, we have six athletes and the team landed in the Top 32," said Canlas in an interview yesterday.
Those who competed in the 2017 World Championships held in Plovdiv, Bulgaria were Catantan, Esteban, Perez, Tan, Jaime Viceo, and CJ Concepcion.
Canlas noted that the Verona tournament will also serve as qualifying for the Youth Olympic Games to be hosted by Buenos Aires, Argentina this October.
After Italy, the national fencers will be competing for one month in France to earn points that will qualify them for the Tokyo Olympics. The athletes will also join the Asian Championships in Bangkok, Thailand in June and the World Fencing Championships (Senior) in Wuxi, China in July.
"With all the tournaments we have this year, we hope that our athletes will be more than ready in the Asian Games this August," said Canlas, who also serves as coach of the multi-titled University of the East in the UAAP.
The Asian Games will be co-hosted by Jakarta and Palembang cities in Indonesia from Aug. 18 to September 2.
"We are very thankful that the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) is giving our athletes the opportunity to compete abroad and expose them to high-level competitions. Aside from funding our trips, the PSC is also providing the team medical assistance," said Canlas, who will be accompanied by coach Almario Vizcayno in Italy.*PNA
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