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Goma wants PH fencers to train longer under Korean coaches

 

 

 

By WAYLON GALVEZ

 

 

 

 

Philippine Fencing Association president Richard Gomez (left) and Fencing Confederation of Asia chief Celso Dayrit congratulate Hanniel Abella, Mickyle Bustos, Anna Estimada and Harlene Raguin after they ruled the women’s epee event during the Southeast Asian Games here last year. (Waylon Galvez)

Philippine Fencing Association president Richard Gomez (left) and Fencing Confederation of Asia chief Celso Dayrit congratulate Hanniel Abella, Mickyle Bustos, Anna Estimada and Harlene Raguin after they ruled the women’s epee event during the Southeast Asian Games here last year. (Waylon Galvez)

Philippine Fencing Association (PFA) President Richard Gomez said they are proposing to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) to extend the contract of Korean coaches Seungjun Kim and Sangsun Park since six Filipino fencers are preparing for next year’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

The contracts of Kim and Park, gold medalist during the 2006 Asian Games, originally expired last March, but Gomez said they were able to get a PSC approval to extend it until August 31.

But since Metro Manila was placed under Enhanced Community Quarantine for almost three months and the athletes were not able to train as much as they can, Gomez wants to give the Korean coaches another six-month extension.

“For now until August lang yung contracts nung dalawang Korean coaches natin,” said Gomez. “But I think the PSC, they’ll take it up in their next meeting.”

“Of course maganda kung ma-extend pa uli sila kasi sayang naman. We have six fencers na magko-compete sa Olympic Qualifying Tournament, and malaking bagay kung ma-retain natin sila (Korean coaches),” added Gomez, a member of the epee national team that bagged the gold medal during the 2005 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games here.

Gomez, the mayor of Ormoc City, said it’s crucial to sustain the service of the Koreans since fencers Noelito Jose, Chris Jester Concepcion, Nathaniel Perez, Hanniel Abella, Samantha Catantan and Jylyn Nicanor are set to see action in the Asian Championship next year in Korea, which is an Olympic qualifier.

The event was originally scheduled last April but like other OQTs for other disciplines, it was called off due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Tokyo Olympics has also been reset to July 2021.

Amat Canles, the head coach of the fencing national team, said that having the Koreans really improved the Filipino fencers as Nicanor won the gold medal in the saber women’s individual event during SEA Games here last year.

The squad of Abella, Mickyle Bustos, Anna Estimada and Harlene Raguin also ruled the women’s epee team in the biennial meet.

“Malaking tulong talaga, kaya nga we’re hoping na ma-approve,” said Canlas, who provides the program for the national team members despite the lockdown for them to continue training.

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