By Waylon Galvez
Penn State University athletic scholar Samantha Catantan has a mission before going back to the country to take part in the qualifier for the Vietnam SEA Games set late this year.
The fencing sensation is out to make an impression in the National American Cup on June 4 to 7 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center in Virginia, USA.
This will be the first tournament for Catantan since she earned a bronze medal during the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) for Asia for the Tokyo Olympics last May in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
The 19-year-old Catantan said the event serves as a good exposure for her as she continues to prepare for the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games on Nov. 21 to Dec. 2 in Hanoi, Vietnam.
“It’s a big tournament here in the US, the best fencers are expected to join,” said Catantan. “So it’s a big help for me, a very good exposure in my preparation for this year’s SEA Games.”
After settling with a bronze medal during the 2019 SEA Games here, Catantan is expected to vie for the gold medal in the women’s individual foil event in Vietnam – against defending champion and Tokyo Olympics-bound fencer Amita Berthier of Singapore.
The event in Virginia, which is organized by USA Fencing, will be Catantan’s last before she returns home on June 20 as she participates in the National Open set July 3 to 11 in Ormoc City.
Fencing national team mentor Amat Canlas hopes to put together a competitive squad capable of surpassing the medal haul of two gold medals, two silvers and seven bronze medals in the last SEA Games.
“That’s the goal, we want to surpass that in Vietnam,” said Canlas.
Two years ago, Jylyn Nicanor won the gold medal in the women’s individual saber, while the women’s epee team of Hanniel Abella, Mickyle Bustos, Anna Estimada and Harlene Raguin.