RP Team Stars Shine in National Wushu Meet
SOUTHEAST ASIAN Games gold medalists Willy Wang and Pedro Quina stamped their class, finishing 1-2 in the 15 years and above long weapon event of the National Wushu Championships at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.
Wang, winner of the taolu-jianshu (sword-play) and taoluqiangshu (spear play) in the 2005 Manila edition of the SEAG, sizzled with 9.36 points against the 9.25 of Quina, the reigning SEAG taolu-nanquan (Southern fist routine) champion.
Overshadowed by the two national team mainstays was the third place effort of Philipine Cultural High School’s Steven Ngo who was awarded by the five judges 9.11 points.
Ngo went on to claim the gold medal as organizers decided not to award medals to national team members, whose participation in the tournament is included in their training program.
Joining Ngo on the podium were silver medalist Henson See of the Wushu Federation of the Philippines-Manila (9.06 points) and bronze medal winner Anthony Ting of PCHS (.9.03 points), who were originally fourth and fifth placers.
World Junior Champion Chelsea Bernasconi also showcased her flawless style and ruled the female 15 and above long weapon class with 9.18 points behind Satya Romero (8.88 points) and Davao team’s Mia Fuentebella (8.66 points).
Up and coming John Keithley Chan and Altarah Javines also shared the day’s honor after winning the male and female 14 and under san lu quan (level 3 bare-handed routine) class.
Chan, representing Baguio Car Chapter, tallied 8.76 points followed by teammate Justin Chan (8.63 points) and Wushu Federation of the Philippines-Manila Alfred John Tan (8.58 points).
Javines from Davao collected 8.56 points to top Baguio’s Jasmin Chan and Philippine Ling Nam Athletic Federation’s Hanna Sha, who came through with identical 8.53 points.
Ling Nam Fed’s Hero Tiu and Wushu Fed-Manila Romarie Lorenzo also topped the same event in the 15 and under age division.
Tiu scored 8.75 points to beat Wushu Fed-Manila’s Riyal Molenilla (8.73 points) and Dino Lee (8.70 points) while Lorenzo tallied 8.70 points against Lia Ramos of Wushu Fed-Manila (8.68 points) and Niah Calingo (8.66 points).
Henson See and Maribeth Camello also dominated the changquan (old and new compulsory routine) with 8.93 and 8.83 points, respectively.
The two-day event is part of the Wushu Federation of the Philippines’ grassroots program to build up a stronger RP team in the upcoming SEAG as well as the 2008 Beijing Olympics where it will be played as a demonstration sport. Outstanding athletes are expected to get national training pool slots.
Despite Reduced Events, Wushu Artists Confident
THE COUNTRY has already lost seven gold medals in wushu even before the 24th Thailand SEA Games war begins.
That because the host nation, in an apparent bid to reduce the country’s chances of winning gold medals, has scrapped a total of 12 events where the Philippines won seven gold, one silver and one broinze medals in the last edition of the biennial sports event.
In the Manila SEA Games two years, a total of 22 events were contested, and the Philippines emerged the runaway winner after winning 11 golds.
And to boost their own gold medal chances, the hosts added four new divisions where Filipino bets are not strong enough to be considered title contenders.
The only good news is that Asian Games winner Rene Catalan will be back to spearhead the national team’s campaign in the Thailand joust slated this December.
Though his division – 48 kg – was one the events dropped, Catalan has been included in the team owing to his impressive performance in the Doha Asian Games.
Catalan, the country’s most decorated wushu athlete, will now be competing in the –52 kg event
"Maraming events ang natanggal and we’ll be competing against the odds," said Wushu Federation of the Philippines President Julian Camacho.
Also cinch to make it to the RP squad are Denbert Arcita, Marquez Sangiao, Esmael Camarig, SEAG medalists Benjie Rivera, Mark Eddiva and Rexel Nganhayna – all will be competing in the sanshou (combat) events.
Former world champion Arvin Ting leads the taolo artists that include Henson See, Steven Ngo, Pedro Quina, Daniel Panantac, Francesca Bernasconi and Mary Evangeline Agbay.
Despite the reduction of numbers of events, Camacho remains confident of bringing several gold medals.
"Tingin namin kaya pa naman makarami ng panalo," said Camacho.
. The events the host Thailand dropped are men’s and women’s daoshu, jianshu, qiangshu and women’s gunshu.