Opao Catantan, Willa Galvez and Yuri Canlas emerged as winners in women's foil, while Antonio Manuel, Inigo Divinagracia and Teo Canlas came through with solid performances in men's foil in the Admirals Fencing Invitational 2023 on Saturday at The Palms Country Club in Alabang, Muntinlupa City.
Catantan, the 13-year-old sister of reigning Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Samantha Catantan, defeated Hannah Belarmino 15-13 in the Under-15 division, a follow up from her gold medal winning debut campaign in the UAAP Season 85 Fencing Championship last month as a member of University of the East.
Catantan edged out good friend and UE teammate Aubrey Fernandez in another thrilling finish by scoring a 15-14 decision in the semifinals. Belarmino settled with the silver medal while Fernandez and Jodie Tan of Canlas Fencing/St. Jude, who lost in the other Final Four pairing, took the bronze medals.
On the other hand, the 11-year-old Galvez – a Grade 6 student at UE – bested CF teammate Yuna Canlas 6-1 in the U-12 despite suffering a mild sprain earlier that forced her to pull out in the U-15. Canlas took the silver medal, while the bronze medals went to Hagia del Castillo and Skye del Villar.
As for Yuri Canlas, she finished the one-day tournament – organized by CF co-founders Amat Canlas and Sally Aramburo with CF South led by Leon Yap Son and Anton Villaluna – as a double gold medalist by winning the U-10 and U-8 divisions, beating Christine Morales and Morganne Uy, respectively.
In men's foil, Manuel came through with a masterful 15-8 win over UE's Brynt Gale in the finals of U-17. In the semis, the 14-year-old Paref Northfield Grade 9 student dispatched UAAP gold medalist James Lim of UE with a similar 15-8 score, while Gale downed Francis Obzunar 15-11.
Some 200 U-17 to U-8 fencers from different schools and clubs participated in this event, which served as re-launch of the CF South in partnership with the SR Fencing Club and a precursor of the 3rd Paref Southridge Admirals All-Men's Fencing Championship in January 2024.
“We are very happy with the turnout because schools from Manila and the south were able to attend. A lot of new fencers and parents were amazed at the magnitude of the event and the number of fencers present. We hope that this leads to more events in the coming years,” said Son.
Meantime, Divinagracia got back at Lucas Palafox, who ended the former's string of victories in the U-12 men's foil during the CF ranking last week, with a dominant 10-2 win for the gold medal, while Teo Canlas ruled the U-10 by scoring an 8-5 triumph against CF teammate Elijah Timbol.
In the U-8 men's foil, Aidan Coliangco of Bladesmith won against Grey Ang of CF 6-3.
In other categories and weapons, Shy Catantan – the youngest of the Catantan siblings – earned her first gold medal in the U-12 women's saber as she bested CF teammate and future UE partner Nicol Canlas 10-6, while Ayce Olarte won the gold in U-12 men's by beating Reed Omengan of RF 10-3.
Zoe Atilano of CF-Waldorf won the gold in the U-15 women's saber as she downed Medivh Boy of CF 15-5, while Miggy de Guzman of Coach Don King defeated Elijah Galvez 8-6 in U-10 mixed saber.
Calix Ho of RF won the gold medal in the U-17 men's epee as he edged Enrico Fuentes of SR/CF in the finals 15-13, while Pasig Fencing team's Ruzel Gallano and Aljor Contado went 1-2 in U-15 men's, and Ivana Salvador won the gold in U-15 women's epee with a 15-14 win against RF's Juliana Carillo.
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