Aloha, Wekaf

HAWAII accomplished what they had came for, as they won the hosting of the World Eskrima Kali-Arnis Federation (Wekaf) World Championships in 2018.

Surpringly, Hawaii's bid ran unopposed as Australia, who was earlier rumored to campaign to bring the tournament to their shores, was silent when the congress presider Ernest Evangelista called out for another bidder.

Needing just one vote of acceptance from the 25 country delegates who made it to the world congress, Hawaii got five instead, including that of Norman Charles of Great Britain, who was voted as the new Wekaf President, while every delegates and their members started to line for the doors to get ready for the official opening ceremony that was held one floor below the Aster-Peony Hall of J Center Mall in Mandaue City yesterday.

"We will try to bring the 'aloha' spirit throughout the worlds. We are working with the government of Honolulu and the tourism department to make our hosting of the 15th Wekaf World Championships the most exciting and most fun tournament. We have displayed our story to the delegates. It was just an example of what we will be doing in Hawaii," GM Robert Garcia of Doce Pares Hawaii told reporters.

To pitch their bid, Team Hawaii brought along 15 Hula dancers as well as Joey Manahan, who is the sitting councilor of Honolulu.

Charles defeated Antonio Lucero of USA via 16-6 votes, while winning unopposed were Raoul Giannuzu of Luxembourgh, who nominated himself to the vice presidency post and Max Carpin of Reunion Island as secretary.

Newly-installed Philippines Sports Commission Commissioner Ramon Fernandez, who was the guest of honor of the opening rites thanked all the participants for choosing the Filipino Martial Arts and for visiting Cebu.

"I would like to thank you for choosing arnis, our indigenous Filipino Martial Arts. And for coming to Cebu. We at the PSC will try to make the difference for Wekaf and the sports. And a special thanks to SGM Dionisio CaƱete for working hard to make our sports reach the foreign shores," said Fernandez.

Only 25 out of the 33 countries, who have earlier registered made it to the tournament this year.

Among them were competitors from Hungary, Slovenia, Liechtenstein, France, Italy, Australia, Canada, USA, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Luxembourgh, Turkey, Reunion Island, Germany, Austria, Norway, Puerto Rico, Korea, Chile, Japan, Qatar and China.

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