By Waylon Galvez
Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold medalist fencer Jylyn Nicanor continues training at home while keeping her fingers crossed that the Tokyo Olympics will push through next year.
“Tuloy lang ako, maski yung ibang fencers, sa pag-ensayo everyday. Kailangan kundisyon pa din maski na ganito yung sitwasyon,” said the 27-year-old Nicanor in a phone interview Friday with The Manila Bulletin.
“Medyo mahirap mag-ensayo kasi puro strengthening yung nagagawa ko, unlike kapag nasa gym nakaka-galaw and nakaka-ensayo ng fencing moves. Sa bahay hindi rin magawa,” she added.
Nicanor and five other Filipino fencers were supposed to join the Asian Fencing Championship in South Korea last April, which is an Olympic qualifying tournament, but because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the competition has been rescheduled next year.
Last month, the International Olympic Committee announced that the 2020 Olympics has been reset to next year with a target date of July 23.
Nicanor accepts that only a vaccine against the virus is the best solution for things to return to normalcy, including sports events. Without that, she said, it would be very difficult to hold games.
“Lahat naman tayo yun ang dasal, na sana matapos na, na sana magkaron ng vaccine… sa tingin ko yun ang makaka-stop sa pagkalat ng virus. We’re all hoping and praying,” she said.
Nicanor, who began fencing at age 15 with juniors coach Christian Canlas, rose to fame when she gave the country its first gold medal in fencing in the 2019 SEA Games here following her triumph in the women’s saber event.
The national team also won gold medal in the women’s epee.
Also part of the national team under Elite coach Amat Canlas for next year’s Asian Championship are Chris Jester Concepcion in men’s saber, Hanniel Abella and Noelito Jose in women’s and men’s epee, Nathaniel Perez and Samantha Catantan in men’s and women’s foil events.
Concepcion and Abella earned silver medals in their respective events in the biennial meet, while Jose settled for the bronze.
The 18-year-old Catantan is the reigning Asian under-23 champion.
Nicanor said that if the Tokyo Olympics is canceled entirely because of the lack of a vaccine, she would still continue to aim for an appearance in the Summer Games.
“Para sa akin goal ko na yun… una nakuha ko na yung gold sa SEA Games. Hopefully kasunod na yung maka-qualify sa Asian Games and Olympics,” she said. “Kung hindi matuloy, susubok pa din ako sa next.”