FOLLOWING their recent success in international competition, local athletes who took part in the 27th Southeast Asian Games, including Team Lakay, were recently feted in a simple ceremony at the Sunshine Park as part of the annual Silahis ng Pasko celebration.

Wushu Federation of the Philippines–Cordillera president Tony Candelaria led the cast of honorees during a simple get-together party organized by the National Correspondents Club of Baguio in cooperation with the City Government of Baguio.

Candelaria was joined by World Wushu Championships gold medalist Benjie Rivera, who won the mint by overwhelming 2011 silver medalist Hoang Hong Tu of Vietnam to re-claim the gold medal in the 52-kg division during the 12th staging of the event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The wily Rivera, also a Sanda World Cup gold medal winner, relied on his fists and arms to beat Hoang and emerge the lone Filipino gold medalist after Jessie Aligaga fell short of his bid in the 48kg class.

Rivera is among the country’s top wushu players where they paraded with pride along the city’s main thoroughfares that include SEA Games medalist Daniel Parantac and teammates John Kiethley Chan, Divine Wally, Kariza Kris Chan and other international wushu aces from the region including the youthful Alieson Ken Omenga and Faith Leana Andaya.

Also honored during the ceremony were coach Mark Sangiao and Team Lakay, including former One FC featherweight champion Honorio Banario, Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon, and Geje Eustaquio.

SEAG boxing medalist Maricirs Igam, hammer thrower Arnel Ferrera, SEAG flag bearer and wrestler Jason Balabal, and judoka Helen Dawa were also honored.

University of Baguio athletic director Eduardo Laureano and North Luzon judo association head Jorge Borja Jr. were also feted together with international boxing promoter Brico Santig.

The group honored is expected to be the top awardees for the prestigious NCCB Kafagway Sports Achievers Award and Recognition Program billed at the Malcolm Square on January 18.

A core of the most outstanding athletes, sportsmen, sports institutions and supports will receive plaques of merit for their invaluable promotion of sports not only in the region but all over the world.