Pinoy fencers open SEA Games campaign Wednesday
ABS-CBN Sports on Jun 02, 2015 04:36 PM
The Philippine fencing team aims to bring home two to three gold medals in the 28th Singapore Southeast Asian Games.
Armed with two weeks of intensive training in Hong Kong and bolstered by two Filipino-Americans with impressive credentials, Filipino fencers aim to contribute two to three golds in the country’s 28th Singapore Southeast Asian Games campaign.
“We could be good for two to three golds,” said coach Bennie Garcia on the eve of the fencing event that gets going at the OCBC Hall 2 on Wednesday.
Garcia bared that the Pinoy bets were in Hong Kong from May 5 to 20 “because the fencing standard there is already high and is less expensive to travel to since it is near our country.”
The Hong Kong swordsmen garnered eight bronze medals to finish fifth overall in last year’s Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
The coach said reinforcing the national squad are Fil-Am foil specialists Wilfred Curioso and Brennan Louie, who are both making their SEA Games debut.
A recent graduate of St. John’s, a Big East NCAA Division 1 team based in New York, Curioso was a member of the 2009 US Cadet world championship squad and topped the Paris International Cup as a high school freshman in 2007.
On the other hand, Louie, is a mainstay of the foil team University of California at San Diego, also a NCAA Division 1 school, and was a member of the team that captured the men’s team foil title in the 2008 Pacific Coast Championships.
But Garcia said that he would tap seasoned campaigner Emerson Segui, a gold medalist in the 2007 Thailand Southeast Asian Games, and fellow veteran Nathaniel Perez as the individual entries in the foil event.
He added that the country is also strong in the women individual epee, with veteran Harlene Orendain, who captured a silver in the 2007 Thai Games, eyeing a gold this time as fencing returns to the sportsfest after being absent in the Myanmar meet two years ago.
The coach cited Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia as the country’s main contenders in the four-day tournament.
“Singapore is strong in all weapons, and continues to recruit from the Chinese mainland,” Garcia bared. “Of course, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia are just as good.”
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Once one of the country’s top gold-medal producers for the country in the SEA Games, the Pinoy fencers could only muster a paltry haul of one gold courtesy of Walbert Mendoza, who ruled the men’s individual sabre event, at the 2011 Indonesia Games.
This was a far cry from the three gold, five silver and five bronze medals they took home from the Thailand sportsfest in 2007.