ANTONIO Manuel and Sophia Catantan delivered winning performances on the final day of action as the two earned gold medals for Team Philippines in the 1st Hefeng National Junior Fencing Championships on Sunday in New Taipei City in Taiwan.
The two Filipinos, part of more than 40 fencers representing Canlas Fencing, both won in dramatic fashions as the club finished the two-day meet with a haul of two gold medals, silver and eight bronze medals.
After suffering a controversial 13-15 setback to Lv Kechen of Taiwan in the semifinals of the Under-15 women's individual foil, the 13-year-old Catantan bounced back with a masterful 15-4 victory over Taiwan's Liu Zhiyu in the finals of the U-17 category.
As for the 14-year-old Manuel, the incoming Grade 10 student of Paref Northfield, also rebounded from a silver medal finish in U-17 as he bagged gold in U-15 — overcoming cramps late in the bout — with a come-from-behind 15-11 win against Yang Bingyan of Taiwan.
Aside from Manuel and Catantan, other fencers that claimed bronze were foilists Victoria Ebdane in U-15, Jodie Tan in U-13, Yuna Canlas in U-11, Medivh Boy in U-17, Nicol Canlas in U-13, and Villacin sisters Alyssa in U-19 and Akirra in U-7 mixed of sabre.
There were many improved performances, lessons learned and experience gained in the event, including that of Willa Galvez, Hagia del Castillo and Ina Pascual of Republic Fencing in foil; Elise Acuzar, Zoe Atilano, Maiev Boy and Sophia Santiago in sabre; and Sid Peralta in epee.
Galvez, 11, whose international participation was made possible by Converge, Nickel Asia Corp., San Miguel Corp., Rain or Shine and NLEX, went undefeated 4-0 in the first-round pools to get a bye as the No. 4 seed in the Direct Elimination.
Although she lost 15-3 against 13 years old eventual champion Zhou Bingyi of Taiwan in U-13 category, where she ended up ninth overall — still considered by CF co-founder Amat Canlas an improvement similar to del Castillo, who competed here two months ago and lost in the first-round DE in U-11 but cracked the Top 8 in the same division this time.
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