The national team for fencing is resuming its ‘bubble’ training in Ormoc City in preparation for the possibility of competing in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Vietnam early next year.
As approved by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), the training is set Sept. 18 to Dec. 5 at the Ormoc City Stadium, the same venue where it conducted a similar setup in January and an open tournament last July as organized by the Philippine Fencing Association (PFA).
“It’s a go for the fencing national team,” said national team head coach Amat Canlas when contacted Thursday, August 26 by Manila Bulletin.
“We’re thankful to the PSC for the support, and of course to Mayor Richard Gomez for opening Ormoc City as a venue for our training. Last month pa sana ito but because of the lockdowns, it was pushed to next month.”
Canlas said that all top four finishers in each division and weapon would be part of the bubble training.
For the men’s team, these are Nathaniel Perez, Samuel Tranquillan, Jojo Viceo and Michael Nicanor in foil, CJ Concepcion, Donnie Arth Navarro, Sandro Sia and Daniel Villanueva in sabre, and epee’s Noelito Jose, Lee Ergian Ergina, Jian Miguel Bautista and Darryl Lumahan.
In the women’s side, Jylyn Nicanor, Queen Denise Dalmacio, Allaine Nicole Cortey and Kimberly Camahalan in sabre, epee’s Jaymi delos Santos, Mickyle Rein Bustos and Hanniel Abella, and foil’s Wilhemina Lozada and Justine Gail Tinio.
Samantha Catantan and Maxine Esteban, two members of the women’s foil, are not joining the bubble. The fencers, who finished 1-2 in the last open tournament, are both outside of the country.
Catantan has returned early this month in the US to resume her studies at Penn State University where she is on an athletic scholarship as a member of the fencing team, while Esteban is currently in training camp in Italy.
Canlas said that Gomez, who is also the president of the PFA, has informed him of conducting another Open Championship in January to determine the final selection for the SEA Games.
“The last Open championship in Ormoc City was actually the selection process for the SEA Games, but since it was postponed, naging selection na lang siya for spots in the national team,” said Canlas.
“So magkakaroon again ng selection, mostly likely ang gusto ni Mayor sa January para after ng break naming from the bubble, Holiday Season, hindi rin magpabaya ang mga fencers.”
“Fencers from outside of the country, the Fil-foreigners, are also encouraged to participate. But for Sam and Maxine, no need for them to join because they’re 1-2 in women’s foil,” said Canlas.
The national team won two gold medals in fencing courtesy of Nicanor in women’s sabre, and the epee women’s team led by Abellaand Bustos during the SEA Games in 2019 here.
The organizing committee decided to cancel the biennial meet this year due to the COVD-19 pandemic. Many are expecting that Vietnam will hold the games in Hanoi in March or April 2022.