HANGZHOU—Filipino fencers are as high in spirits as the other Filipino athletes in the 19th Asian Games despite a roster denied of medal potentials.
National team head coach Ramil Ederiano said they are keeping their hopes high even without Southeast Asian Games standouts Samantha Catantan and Maxine Esteban.
Catantan, one of Penn State University’s top fencers, suffered a knee injury and had to forego the gold medal match of women’s foil at the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia last May. She has yet to fully recover.
Esteban, on the other hand, is now a naturalized athlete for Ivory Coast.
Competing here are SEA Games silver medalist Noelito Jose (men’s epee), Ivy Dinoy (women’s epee), Samuel Tranquilan (men’s foil), Jylyn Nicanor (women’s sabre), Miggy Bautista (men’s foil) and Juliana Gomez (women’s epee), daughter of Asian Games ched de mission Richard Gomez.
Their training and participation were bankrolled by the Philippine Sports Commission.
Fencing starts Sunday with a total of 12 gold medals at stake at the Hangzhou Dianzi University Gymnasium.
“They have been beating Asian champions,” Ederiano said. “They have a good chance of making it to the medal round of individual events.”
Ederiano said fencers from South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and host China are the team to beat.
“South Korea is currently a powerhouse as well as Hong Kong. Korea has former Olympic medalists and Japan currently has world champions with them,” he said.
South Korea dominated in Jakarta with six gold, three silver and six bronze medals.