Before it plunges into action in the Southeast Asian Games, the Philippines national wushu team tested its mettle on the global stage that served as a test ahead of the regional competition.
The Filipinos took home 2 silver medals (Russel Diaz in the 48-kilogram class men's sanda; and Arnel Mandal, 52-kg men's sanda) and 2 bronze (Clemente Tabugara, 65 kg men's sanda; and Divine Wally, 48-kg women's sanda) at the world championships in Shanghai last month.
Three Southeast Asian countries were ahead of the Philippines in the medal standings, though — Indonesia with 3 gold medals, followed by Malaysia and Vietnam.
Prior to that event, Julian Camacho, secretary general of the Wushu Federation of the Philippines, the sport's national governing body, said the China competition would be a good measuring stick for the Filipino athletes' progress.
“ ’Yan na pinaka-matinding test kasi kalaban mo halos lahat. The best wushu fighters will be coming from Asia,” Camacho said.
The sanda (combat) team led by Asian Games bronze medalist Wally trained for 4 months in China; the taolu (form) team that includes Asian Games silver medalist Danny Parantac trained for 5 months.
Camacho said his group targets to get at least 8 to 10 medals from 16 wushu events.
“Mahirap mag-promise, but we’ll try our best,” he said.
“Basta lahat ng taichi both men’s and women’s 4 or 5 agad makukuha natin, sa sanda 4 or 5 ulit.”
The country only got a gold and a silver in the 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, where Malaysia only limited the events to taolu.
Agatha Wong was the lone medalist (gold in taijiquan) and (silver in taijian) that year.
Other wushu athletes competing in this year’s SEA Games include Wong, Thornton Lou Sayan and Jones Inso of taolu and Gideon Padua of sanda.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)