Fencing qualifiers unfurl in Ormoc City

Published July 2, 2021, 3:00 PM

by Waylon Galvez

Expect an exciting and action filled event for the next nine days as slots for Philippine Team will be up for grabs in the National Open Fencing Championships starting on Saturday, July 3 at the Ormoc City Superdome.

More than 100 fencers from the three weapons – foil, sabre and epee – will participate in the tournament, which has been divided to three legs with each fencer earning points to determine the ranking for national team spots.

At least the top three fencers from each weapon in the men’s and women’s categories will be assured spots in the fencing national team for the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Vietnam this year.

Ormoc City Mayor and Philippine Fencing Association (PFA) chief Richard Gomez said that everything is set for the tournament as participants arrived last week from Manila.

“I’m happy na maraming participants,” said Gomez when contacted by the Manila Bulletin. “Sa epee men’s pa lang may 32 na, so that’s a good number for that category in fencing.”

“I gave them orientation, I told all the participants to give it their best since this serves as qualifiers for the SEA Games. We hope to get the best fencers and form a strong national team.”

Gomez said that strict health measures are being implemented in the city to avoid the spread of COVID-19 virus, particularly in the 5,000-capacity Superdome at the heart of Ormoc City.

The actor/sportsman turned politician, however, said that they are opening to spectators the bleachers section with 1,000 sitting capacity for the people of Ormoc to experience fencing action.

“The people of Ormoc City are quite familiar with fencing because we have the modern pentathlon here. But of course, this is the first time that we are hosting a fencing event here kaya maski ang mga tao dito excited,” he said.

According to national team coach Amat Canlas, the first leg of the Open is July 3-4 for the first leg of individual men’s and women’s foil, epee and saber. The second leg is July 7-8, while the third leg is July 10-11.

On the 11th, there will also be a selection process for the men’s and women’s team epee.

“We’ll get the points of fencers after every leg. After three legs, we’ll get the top three for each weapon in men’s and women’s to the national team. Even if they are part of the national team in the last SEA Games, it’s not a guarantee because there might be other young fencers who are on the rise,” said Canlas.

In the last SEA Games here, the national team won two gold medals, two silvers and four bronzes.

The two gold medals were from women’s division, the individual sabre courtesy of Jylyn Nicanor, and the epee team of Hanniel Abella, Mickyle Bustos, Anna Estimada and Harlene Raguin.

Meanwhile, aside from the senior’s category in the Open, the tournament also has the 13-20 years old bracket for cadet national teams intended for the Asian and World junior/cadet competitions.