BAGUIO City's top female archer Kareel Meer Hongitan set the tone early for the national squad after earning four gold medals in the recently concluded 6th Southeast Asian Archery Championships in Yangon, Myanmar, January 19-24.

The 19-year-old lass led the 13-man Philippine Archery Team, which earned the overall spot for the event, after putting in tow six gold, four silver, and two bronze medals.

The University of Baguio recurve specialist displayed mastery over seven other competing nations after ruling the women’s qualification, the Olympic round, and the Mixed team event with Flor Matan, apart from the women’s team event with PH Team neophytes Mary Queen Ybanez and Nicole Tagle.

Kareel sparked hope for the PH Archery line-up (recurve), now under the eyes of former Singapore and Saudi Arabia Team coach Clint Sayo alongside former national team athlete Joy Marino.

Hongitan is presently bannering for the Filipino team (recurve) filling the spot left by top performer Rachel Cabral-Dela Cruz, who shifted from the recurve to the compound class since June 2016.

The BS Tourism student is currently Philippine record holder in recurve archery with 326 points, breaking the 17-year mark of coach Joy Marino during last year’s World Championships in Turkey.

Presently placed 107th of all the active recurve archers internationally, the athlete who started her career at the early age of nine has promised great potential particularly during her first World Cup appearance in Shanghai, China back in 2015 where she surprised the world with her 9th place finish.

According to Kareel, her recent feat sees to inspire and boost the morale of her team in all of their upcoming competitions including the Asian Cup this March in Thailand, the World Cups in China, Turkey and the United States, the Malaysia Sea Games and the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia.

Other countries present during the week-long Southeast Championships include Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Hong Kong and host Myanmar.

Earlier, Kareel’s father and coach John thanked the City Government thru the city sports office headed by Gaudencio Gonzales for its financial and moral support to local archers and coaches.

“We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude for helping us hit our targets in life through sports, particularly archery. Your unwavering support boosted our morale to represent our beloved city in various local, national and international sports competitions and events,” Hongitan added in his letter.

He stressed their burning desire to continue helping promote the city by actively participating in this year’s Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association (CARAA) competitions, Palarong Pambansa and the PSC-POC Philippine National Games.

Their group is also hoping to join all events and competitions included in the WAP calendar to be conducted here and abroad.

“We, the archers and coaches of Baguio are always happy and ready to help promote our beloved city with your blessing and inspiration,” Hongitan’s letter stated. (MVP)