As part of preparation for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, Filipino fencer Samantha Catantan will compete in the World Junior/Cadet Fencing Championships on April 3 to 11 in Cairo, Egypt.
Fencing national team coach Amat Canlas said Friday that he already talked to Catantan about the plans for her national team participation after her stint with the Penn State University fencing team.
“We talked about the World Juniors, the OQT and other tournaments that she’ll join… basically all tournaments of the national team,” said Canlas when contacted by Manila Bulletin.
“Of course, all these tournaments will happen after the NCAA tournament, where Sam is I think she’s already assured of a spot, although they’re waiting for an official announcement.”
“But she will join the national team after her events with Penn State, which is supportive of Sam and her campaign with the Philippine Team and we appreciate everything,” he said.
Catantan is a 19-year-old freshman at Penn State, where she recently completed four invitational meets for a possible spot in foil event in the US NCAA Tournament next month.
She is also set to see action in late April in Seoul, South Korea in the OQT for Asians for the Tokyo Olympics, and the Asian Championship sometime in June.
Canlas said they already received updates that the OQT and the Asian tourney are now separate events, and instead of Korea, a yet to be named host country will stage the Asian Championship.
Initially, the plan is for Canlas to accompany Catantan at the World Juniors. He was with Catantan during the 2019 meet in Poland, where coaches from Penn State discovered the latter and gave her full athletic scholarship.
Catantan is the first homegrown Filipino fencer to play for a Division 1 school in the US NCAA. If the organizer permits it, Penn State University will be the venue for the Fencing Championship on March 25 to 28.
However, since Canlas is in Ormoc City with the national team inside a bubble training camp, he explained the situation to the Philippine Fencing Association (PFA).
“I’ll spend days on quarantine if I leave for Egypt, and once I arrive back home, [it will take me] several more days of quarantine before I [can] join the national team in the Ormoc bubble,” said Canlas.
“I told the federation, president Richard Gomez in particular, that it’s a good exposure for Sam so it’s important to join even without me. I’ll focus here training our athletes for the OQT.”
The five fencers training in Ormoc City are Jylyn Nicanor and Christian Jester Concepcion in the men’s and women’s saber category, Hanniel Abella and Noelito Jose in epee, and Nathaniel Perez in foil.
Nicanor won gold medal in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games here two years ago, while Concepcion and Abella earned silver medals in their respective events, and Jose settled with a bronze medal.