Philippines dethrones US squad
Vengeance and victory was claimed by Team Philippines as it won the overall title with a dominant performance at the end of the 12th World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation (WEKAF) World Championships late Friday night at the Cebu International Convention Center in Mandaue City.
The pain of losing the overall title by just one gold four years ago was washed away by the scintillating showing of the Filipino stickfighters, who amassed a total of 62 gold medals, 36 silvers and 36 bronze medals.
The erstwhile champions United States was a far second with just nine golds, 10 silvers and five bronze medals. Not far behind from the USA was the Reunion Island of France, which had nine golds, nine silvers and nine bronze medals. Rounding out the top five were New Zealand (6-5-2) and Australia (5-3-7).
Typifying the courageous performance of the Filipinos were the trio of triple-gold medal winners led by Reynaldo Combate, who won the single stick middleweight and the double stick super middleweight events before taking part in the elite team sparring event, which Cebu won over their Manila counterparts.
Florito Fernandez, Combate’s compatriot in their successful conquest of the team sparring event, also had two other gold medal performances with his wins in the single stick light middleweight and the double stick middleweight events.
A youngster also took center stage as Trixie Mary Lofranco capped off her campaign with wins in the 8-9 years old single stick non-traditional open forms, the team synchronized event and the 6-7 single stick class.
Outgoing Wekaf president Gerald Canete, son of the chairman emeritus of the organization and supreme grandmaster Dionisio Canete, said he was ecstatic with the result of the tournament and the overall staging of the event.
“I’m very happy because it was a successful tournament,” said Cannete. “Most of all, nakuha jud nato ang overall title after the past five world championships.”
The next world tilt will be in 2014 in Hungary.
Canete said it will be a challenge to bring over the same contingent there but is hopeful for yet another crown, especially with the amount of support the Wekaf Philippines is receiving from different sectors.