Filipino fencer Samantha Catantan is seeking help from private sponsors as she continues her quest for a spot in the 2024 Paris Olympics.
The top ranked women’s foil player is hoping to participate in the World Fencing Championship where valuable points for Olympic qualification are up for grabs. The tournament is set from July 15 to 23 in Cairo, Egypt.
The national team has requested support from the Philippine Sports Commission, but the agency has yet to respond since it is currently under transition for the next administration of President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
“If it was approved, we’ll not reach out for help because it’ll be funded by the government (PSC),” said Catantan, who gave the Philippines its only fencing gold medal in the Vietnam Southeast Asian Games last month.
“But because of that, which we understand the situation of the PSC, we’re asking, looking for help. This is big for fencing because of the ranking points we can earn in the tournament,” she said.
Catantan, 20, is eyeing an outright spot in the Paris Games since participating in the World Championships, various World Cups, Asian Championships, and other regional events merits ranking points for each athlete.
A few weeks ago, the Penn State University student-athlete joined the Asian Championship where she finished at 13th in women’s foil — a performance that already earned her points.
“If I’ll not join the tournament, sayang naman po yung points that I got in the AFC,” said Catantan, who is hoping to raise $3,000 (P156,000) to be able to join the World Championships. “That’s why I’m asking for help. I know there are private companies that love sports… that they have not just a soft spot, but the heart to help Filipino athletes like me – dreaming of becoming an Olympian,” she added.
Catantan is one of the eight Filipino athletes that are part of the Olympic Solidarity Scholarship Grant under the International Olympic Committee. Each athlete is entitled to receive P49,600 per month. The former University of the East star fencer intends to save a chunk of the money to join World Cup events.