PH eyes overall title-A A +A
Monday, July 16, 2012
AS THE World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation (Wekaf) returns to the country for its 12th installment, Team Philippines is confident that the coveted overall crown will once again return to them.
“We have the home court advantage. We have a very good chance of winning the gold and become the overall champions,” said Wekaf president Master Gerald Cañete in a press conference yesterday at the Golden Peak Hotel, for the 12th Wekaf Championship on July 18 to 24 at the Cebu International Convention Center.
The Philippines last won the overall title in 2000, and lost by just a single gold medal to the USA four years ago here in Cebu City.
Despite the overwhelming delegation of 120 eskrimadors from the Philippines, Team USA is all geared up to defend its crown and is ecstatic with the opportunity to again compete in the land where the martial art originated.
“The USA is always very happy to come to the Philippines. We are eager to compete. We come to win and do our very best,” said former Wekaf champion Antonio Lucero of Team USA.
Aside from the defending champions USA, Gerald also believes that there are other emerging teams that they should look out for in the biennial tournament.
“We have to watch out for the Australians. A lot of the Australians have improved a lot. Reunion Island has 50 or more competitors and with a delegation this big, this means that they are ready,” he said.
Wekaf chairman emeritus and Supreme Grandmaster Dionisio Cañete also cited a few other countries that have talent but are unfortunate to have a small delegation for the competition.
“Hungary and New Zealand have a lot of good fighters but we will swarm them with our numbers,” he said.
The tournament, which attracted 30 countries, will formally start on July 19 and will end on July 21.
But before that, there will also be other activities on July 18. There will be the Wekaf Congress, which will feature the election of officers and the selection of the venue for the 13th Wekaf Championship, a medical and dental mission in Malubog, the inauguration of the Eskrima Temple, and the awarding of the Order of Lapu-Lapu to select eskrima icons.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 17, 2012.