Arnis seen to continue as medal sport in SEA Games Vietnam 2021

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Dec 04, 2019 11:55 AM
Arnis seen to continue as medal sport in SEA Games 2021
(Photo courtesy of SEA Games Media)

It was a big-time comeback for arnis in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

After 14 years, the Philippines' national martial art had 20 gold medals up for grabs in the biennial event.

The biggest winner of all was the host country which had a 14-gold and 20-medal haul.

It wasn't just Filipinos, though, who celebrated the return of arnis in the SEA Games.

Vietnam, Myanmar, and Cambodia also made a splash as all of them wound up with a total of 20 medals.

For that, Sen. Migz Zubiri is nothing but overjoyed. "We want to make sure our neighbors are also happy because we want to continue this to Vietnam in 2021 and all the way to Cambodia in 2023," the president of the Philippine Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation said.

The last time the Philippines hosted the regional meet, it put arnis front and center.

Two years later in Singapore, however, it was not included in the roster.

It wasn't until the SEA Games returned to the sport's home that it was a competition once more.

With how this regional meet turned out, Sen. Zubiri is only hopeful things will be different this time around - especially as Vietnam is hosting. As he put it, "Well, happy naman yung Vietnam sa nakuha nilang gold medals. Nakausap ko yung coach nila and sabi naman niya, nag-meeting na raw sila to allow arnis in the (next) SEA Games."

He then continued, "Malakas kasi sila rito e. Kung titingnan natin medal count, ang kalaban natin palagi, Vietnam. The home court advantage just helped us, but they're the strongest arnis team in the region."

Indeed, the Vietnamese were the Filipinos' closest competitors as the former actually got four golds and 10 silvers.

With that, arnis may very well be here to stay in the SEA Games. "Nakausap ko nga coach (ng Vietnam) and I invited them to the World Championships in Cebu in July (next year). Dadating daw sila with Myanmar and Cambodia," Sen. Zubiri shared.

He then continued, "Kaya nga hopefully, we'll have arnis in SEA Games 2021."

For the national team itself, that is nothing but a welcome development. "If in another two years, meron pang ganito sa SEA Games, that's good news," gold medalist Elmer Manlapaz said.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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