Fencing coach sets game plan for 2021

Published October 29, 2020, 10:02 PM

by Waylon Galvez

National fencing coach Amat Canlas sees a busy 2021 campaign for the Filipinos fencers with two important international tournaments already lined up in the calendar of events.

First is the Asian Fencing Championship in April in South Korea where the Philippines will have six athletes, while the other is Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam in November-December.

“May mga dates na ang mga yan, so kumbaga kami ng mga coaches ko gumagawa kami ng mga plano na, nakakapag-schedule na kami kung maano natin mai-prepare ang mga atleta,” Canlas said in a phone interview with Manila Bulletin Thursday evening.

However, the veteran coach thinks that there might be some changes as the pandemic remains a big factor to consider for the organizers.

Canlas said they just follow the advice of the International Federation and the national sports association, which is the Philippine Fencing Association (PFA) led by Ormoc City mayor Richard Gomez.

“Kami naman kung anong sabihin ng IF, and of course ng association namin. Susunod lang kami sa kanila. Pero at the same time, tuloy lang sa ensayo yung mga fencers natin,” he said.

Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold medalist Jylyn Nicanor – gold medalist in the previous SEA Games here when she ruled the women’s sabre category – leads the six-man nationals team in the Asian Fencing Championship.

Also part of the national team in the 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 with a bronze medal. The 18-year-old Catantan is the reigning Asian under-23 champion.

Canlas also said that the tryout for the national team for the 2021 SEA Games in Vietnam is set for last week of June.

“Before kasi January, February and March tryout namin yan for the national team, pero dahil baka hindi pa naman ok mga ganung month next year, madyo nag-move kami sa date for the tryout,” he said.

“It’s important for us to form a solid team for the SEA Games kasi malakas ang Vietnam sa fencing, and tayo naman we hope to sustain the gains we had from the last SEA Games when we won two gold medals.”