Inviting Korean fencers to Ormoc being mulled
By WAYLON GALVEZ
Fresh from a stint in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, the national fencing team is veering its focus now on preparation for the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam as plans are being finalized for the selection process of the squad to training camp here and abroad. Coach Amat Canlas said that there is already a program for the SEA Games, which includes tryouts for aspiring members this July in Ormoc City. Philippine Fencing Association chief and Ormoc City mayor Richard Gomez has agreed to host the week long SEA Games qualifying tournament from July3 to 11 at Ormoc City Superdome. “Now mag-prepare na kami for the SEA Games. Nagawa na ang program, pero pagde-desisyunan pa and to be finalized ng PFA,” said Canlas during the online PSA Forum yesterday. The tournament for the selection process is set July 3 and 4 for the first leg of individual men’s and women’s foil, epee and saber. The second leg is on July 7 and 8, while the third leg is on July 10 and 11. On the 11th, there will be a selection process for the men’s and women’s team epee. The event is expected to attract fencers here and abroad, including fencing sensation Samantha Catantan, the freshman from Penn State University who already booked her flight back to the country. “Kakabili ko lang ng ticket, two months ako (in the Philippines),” said Catantan, recently named Penn State U MVP following bronze medal finishes in the US NCAA and OQT. The national team hopes to surpass its performance in the last SEA Games here when it won two gold medals courtesy of Jylyn Nicanor in the women’s individual saber, and the women’s epee team of Hanniel Abella, Mickyle Bustos, Anna Estimada and Harlene Raguin. The national team also bagged two silvers and seven bronze medals during the biennial meet. Canlas said that part of the national team preparation for the Vietnam SEA Games set Nov. 21 to Dec. 2 is a training camp abroad, one in South Korea and another one in Hong Kong. However, if COVID-19 quarantine days in South Korea (14 days) and in Hong Kong (21 days) remain in September or October, another option is to have Korean fencers come to Ormoc City. “Originally the plan is to train in Korea for one month, and then before the SEAG, two weeks in Hong Kong,” said Canlas. “Pero nung naka-usap ko yung mga coaches from Korea and Hong Kong in the OQT, nalaman ko na mahaba quarantine days nila.” “Plan B is to send Korean fencers to Ormoc para may makalaban kami malalakas,” said Canlas, adding the camp will be part of preparation for the Taipei Under-23 tournament and Taipei Open before the SEA Games.