By WAYLON GALVEZ
Southeast Asian (SEA) Games medalist Jylyn Nicanor and rising star Samantha Catantan ruled their respective events in the first leg of the National Open Fencing Championships Sunday at the Superdome in Ormoc City.
Catantan, a freshman at Penn State University, emerged victorious in the women’s foil event after downing fellow national team mainstay Maxine Esteban, 15-8, in the final round of the event organized by the Philippine Fencing Association (PFA).
As the first leg winner Catantan received 12 points, Esteban got 10 points, while Tinio and Lozada each had eight points. A total of 12 fencers competed in the foil women’s event and got their corresponding points.
On the other hand, Nicanor edged Queendenise Dalmacio of UE 15-3 in the final of the women’s sabre event. After a bye in the Round of 16, Nicanor proceeded to beat Ma. Wendylene Mendoza of Canlas Fencing, 15-2, in the quarterfinal, and fellow national team member Kemberley Camahalan, 15-5, in the semifinal
Winners in the second on July 7-8 and third leg on July 10-11 from all three weapons – foil, sabre and epee – will also receive similar points to be totaled at the end of the competition for the ranking of fencers since the event serves as qualifying meet for national team in the coming SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Meanwhile, UE’s Jaymi De los Santos provided the biggest surprise in the opening leg following her thrilling 15-14 win over Hanniel Abella in the final of the women’s epee category.
Prior to the final bout, the fourth-seeded Abella – a SEA Games gold medalist and participant in the last Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Asia held in Uzbekistan – stunned top seed Princess Honey Arbilon 15-9 in the semifinal.
In the men’s side, national team members Nathaniel Perez, CJ Concepcion and Noelito Jose Jr. – participants in the OQT last April – won in their respective events, foil, saber and epee.
Perez won against UE’s Samuel Tranquilan, 13-8, No. 2 Concepcion triumphed against top seed Donnie Arth Navarro, 15-13, and Jose won over Reynaldo Perez Jr. 15-4.