Led by Sam Catantan and Lance Tan, the Philippine fencing team is now in Cairo, Egypt for the 2021 World Juniors/Cadets Fencing Championships.
Fresh from a bronze medal finish in the US NCAA Fencing Championship in Pennsylvania, the 19-year-old freshman Catantan of Penn State University hopes to improve on her ‘Sweet 16’ showing when she took part in the cadet category two years ago in Poland.
“I hope to do well,” Catantan, a former standout at University of the East, told Manila Bulletin-Tempo upon her arrival Saturday in Cairo.
The tournament, designed for fencers 13 to 20 years old, will be divided into two categories, the 13-17 cadets group and the 18-20 juniors bracket for all three weapons – epee, sabre and foil.
Catantan’s round-of-16 appearance got her an invitation from the fencing team of Penn State University, thus becoming the first ‘homegrown’ Filipino to play for a Division 1 school in the US NCAA.
Amat Canlas, who picked the five Filipino fencers for the world championship, expressed optimism that the event will help them improve on their skills since they have other important events this year.
Tan, a member of the Sacred Heart University, also hopes to make a mark in his farewell show in the event.
“I’ve been on the Philippine cadet/junior World Championship team since 2016… this is my fifth and last stint, sadly, as I’m going out,” said Tan, 20, a sophomore at SHU who finished 18th from the 24 participants in the men’s foil division in the US NCAA.
Aside from Catantan and Tan, other Filipino participants in the world championship are US-based Daena Talavera (foil) of Clayton High School and Annika Santos (foil) of Forest Hills Central High School, and Jian Miguel Bautista (epee) of Ateneo.