Foreign coach could solve fencers' woes

ABS-CBN Sports on Jun 05, 2015 07:11 PM
Foreign coach could solve fencers' woes
Former Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Celso Dayrit Friday said the setback of Harlene Raguin and Nathaniel Perez in their respective events should serve as an eye-opener for the country to seek coaching help abroad.

SINGAPORE -- The national fencing team is one foreign coach away from becoming an international powerhouse.

Former Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Celso Dayrit Friday said the setback of Harlene Raguin and Nathaniel Perez in their respective events should serve as an eye-opener for the country to seek coaching help abroad.

Dayrit, the former Philippine Fencing Association president and now Asian Fencing Confederation chief, said Raguin and Perez have what it takes to win the gold, but ran out of steam due to the superior coaching of their respective counterparts.

Raguin was comfortably ahead, 5-3, in the early stretch of the gold-medal match of the women's epee competition until Thran Ti Len of Vietnam made some crucial adjustments that completely changed the complexion of the game.

On the same note, Perez also squandered a golden opportunity to clinch the country's first gold when another Vietnamese Minh Nguyen pulled off a heart-stopping 15-14 conquest in the finals of men's individual foil.

Vietnamese fencers are being mentored by three foreign coaches: French, Russian and Korean.

"It's about time for us to get a good foreign coach," said Dayrit, who watched from the sidelines together with PSC chairman Ricardo Garcia.

"I was seated next to chairman Garcia and I broached him the idea. He's okay with it. But, of course, it all depends on the availability of the fund. Maybe this will be a good subject of discussion in our next meeting."

The fencing federation had tremendous success when it employed a Chinese coach several years ago. It reached its height when it won six gold medals in the 1993 SEA Games also in this wealthy city.

"But this time, I will recommend the hiring of a European coach," Dayrit said. "Europe produces the world's most excellent fencers, so it's only fitting that we get our foreign coach from there. An Italian, French or Russian coach will be a big boost to our international campaign."

The national fencers still have a chance to redeem themselves when they march to action to compete in team events today also at the OCBC Arena inside the Singapore Sports Hub.

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