by Waylon Galvez
Arnis will be one of the sports disciplines that Team Philippines will be counting on when the country plays host to the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games next year.
To prepare for the biennial Games, Sen. Miguel Zubiri, president of the Philippine Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation (PEKAF), said they will organize a national championship on July 7 and 8.
“We are preparing the possible members of the national team,” said Zubiri, a practitioner of the sport. “The national championship will bring the best of the best in the sport of arnis.”
The federation, according to Zubiri, already conducted Luzon-Visayas-Mindanao qualifying tournaments in Angeles City, Lapu Lapu City, Zamboanga City, and the National Capital Region.
All the winners from the Luzon-Visayas-Mindanao qualifiers, as well as NCR champions from different weight categories and events will compete not only for gold medal but also for SEA Games slots.
Arnis, considered the national sport of the Philippines, has been included to the biennial meet the country will stage next year as a regular sport, unlike in 2005 when it was only a demonstration sport.
In that edition of the 2005 SEA Games here, the arnis athletes pocketed a total of three gold medals, but Zubiri said that the target next year is to win majority of the allowable maximum 20 events.