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Thursday, May 30, 2024

4 PH fencers shoot for Olympic seats in Dubai meet

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THREE Filipino fencers Nathaniel Perez, Noelito Jose and Hanniel Abella left Tuesday to join Samantha Catantan in flood-ravaged Dubai, host of the Asian Olympic Qualifying Tournament on April 27 to 28.

Abella, Jose and Perez are deep into preparations a day after travelling from Manila to Dubai, a densely-populated desert city in United Arab Emirates, which was damaged following unusually heavy rains that unexpectedly flooded the metropolis last week.

They will be in Fujairah to seek elusive qualifying slots for the Philippines.

Catantan will join them after a long journey from the United States, where she is a student-athlete at Penn State University.

This will be their second qualifying meet together, with Catantan almost making it to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

The last time around, Catantan reached the women’s foil semifinals of the Asian OQT in Tashkent, but bowed to Yana Alborova, an Uzbekistan naturalized from Russia, 10-15.

Later, Catantan took her first gold medal in the Vietnam Southeast Asian Games.

Two years later, she sustained  a left knee injury during the semifinal round of the 2023 Cambodia SEA Games,

A torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) that required surgery put Catantan into months of recovery.

This year, Catantan showed she has recovered nicely, coming up with  a 10th-place finish in the US NCAA Division 1 Championship.

The 28-year-old Perez is part of  the grassroots’ program of the QCSep Fencing Team under coaches Amat and Christian Canlas of the sports program of Quezon City District 1 Councilor Joseph Juico.

Perez, who is the top Filipino men’s foil fencer, recently joined the Grand Prix in Washington D.C. and went through  a training camp stint at the Bluegrass Fencers’ Club in Lexington, Kentucky.

Jose has extensively prepared, joining the Bern World Cup in Switzerland last November, and  the Vancouver World Cup in Canada, Doha Grand Prix in Qatar last January,

The list of meets that Jose went also included the Heidenheim World Cup in Germany last February, and Budapest Grand Prix in Hungary last March.

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