ARNIS contributed six gold medals to the Philippine campaign in the recent 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia and no less that Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri is all praises for the accomplishment of the arnisadors.
“We are so proud of our arnis team,” said Zubiri, who heads the Philippine Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation or PEKAF, the national sports association for arnis.
“I saw how much heart and hard work our arnisadors poured into their training, and it is so rewarding to see how all of that has paid off in another stellar SEA Games showing,” said Zubiri who witness first-hand the athletes’ campaign in Phnom Penh that also yielded two silver and four bronze medals.
Charllote Ann Tolentino and Jedah Mae Soriano each won gold in the women’s full-contact padded point matches under 50 kgs and 50-55 kgs divisions, respectively.
The full-contact livestick events also saw with Ma. Ella Alcoseba and Dexler Bolambao taking gold medals in the women’s under 50 kgs and men’s 55 to 60 kgs classes, respectively.
On the last day of the arnis competitions, Anyo/Forms competitors took center stage, with Trixie Mary Lofranco and Sam Delfin topped the men’s and women’s individual event of the Anyo/Forms category, with Jeanette Agapito, Mary Allin Aldeguer and Ma. Crystal Jane Sapio winning the silver in the women’s team event.
Jude Oliver Marie Rodriguez landed a silver in women’s 50-55 kgs and Niño Mark Talledo a bronze in men’s 60-65 kgs of livestisk events.
Ezekyl Habig and Noah Gonzales each bagged bronze medals in the bantamweight and lightweight divisions, respectively.
Jeric Arce, Mackjohn Niel Pineda and Mark David Puzon also took bronze in the men’s team event.
“This has been a fantastic comeback for arnis at the SEA Games,” said Zubiri, who authored Republic Act No. 9850 which declared arnis as the National Martial Art and Sport of the Philippines. “This is the first time that a foreign host has included arnis as a competitive sport.”
Arnis was only played in the 2005 and 2019 Philippine games with Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam fielding teams in Phnom Penh.
“It was so exciting to see arnis being played competitively on a foreign stage, and to see foreign athletes mastering the sport, and posing a formidable challenge to our own athletes as well,” said Zubiri.