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We don’t make promises in fencing – Gomez

Richard Gomez does not want to raise expectations by coming up with a target for the national fencing team preparing for the 30th Southeast Asian Games the country is hosting in November.

“We don’t make promises. We don’t want to add pressure to our athletes,” said Gomez, president of the Philippine Fencing Association.



Fencing contributed five gold, two silver and six bronze medals when the Philippines emerged overall champion in the 2005 Games at home.

Gomez accounted for one of the gold medals as member of the men’s foil squad.

However, the Philippines’ performance dipped in the succeeding Games, collecting only five golds in the four times fencing was played, including a lone victory two years ago in Kuala Lumpur.

Gomez attributed this to the graduation of key athletes and difficulty in finding sponsors to boost the development of the sport.

“Unfortunately, money is concentrated on basketball,” said Gomez who has gone to politics as mayor of Ormoc City.

Relying solely on the support of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), the SEAG-bound team will leave on Aug. 25 for South Korea for a six-week training stint that will also bring the Nationals to Hong Kong.

However, Maxine Esteban, bronze medalist in the women’s individual foil in Kuala Lumpur, won’t be able to join the 24-man squad because of school commitments.

A sophomore at Ateneo de Manila, Esteban will instead train at home under Italian coach Floriano Guizzardi who has been here since November.

Esteban and Samantha Kyle Catantan are tipped to contend for the gold in individual foil.

Gomez said Catantan, a University of the East high school graduate, has been offered a scholarship in the United States.

“It is a great opportunity for Kyle to hone her skills there,” said Gomez.

The complete lineup is not yet available, but two United States-based fencers are not expected to be named after failing to join the tryouts.

They are defending men’s foil champion Wayne Louie Brennan and Lawrence Tan who represented the country in the Youth Olympic Games last year.

A total of 12 gold medals will be at stake in fencing to be played at the World Trade Center. (REY BANCOD)