Friday, October 14, 2011

Philippine Wushu team bags first medals at Wushu World Championships

Parantac at the 16th Asian Games

ANKARA, TURKEY—Young tai chi master Daniel Parantac nailed the Philippines’ first medal and five of eight sanda quarterfinalists on Wednesday barged into the elite round of four of the 11th Wushu World Championships.

In a field of 35 bidders, the 20-year-old Parantac turned in a bronze medal winning 9.71 performance in the taiji jian (tai chi with sword) event of taolu late Tuesday night (3 a.m. Wednesday Manila time) behind the 9.72 of Malaysia’s Jack Chang Loh and the near flawless 9.85 of tournament favourite Wu Yanan of China.

“Sayang, kaunti na lang silver na sana pero masaya ako dahil malaking improvement ito from the ninth place finish ko in my first world championship two years ago,” said Parantac, the most senior member of the 9-man, all-Baguio City taolu squad, who is also entered in the 36-man taiji quan event on Thursday.

Drawing more determination from Parantac’s surprise feat, Mark Eddiva (65 kgs) , Benjie Rivera (56 kgs), Mary Jane Estimar (52 kgs), Rhea Mae Rifani (48 kgs) and Marianne Mariano (56 kgs) raised one more notch the pitch of the country’s potent campaign and vowed to go all out in Thursday’s sanda semi-final. All five are already assured of bronze medals.

Mariano worked hardest for the day and sustained a gash just below her right eyebrow in a one-sided win over American Morganett Thompson in the day time during the round of 16. She came back at night to conquer a game Brazilian, Ana Claudia Fatia.

“Tumama po kasi yong gilid ng mukha ko sa armor ng Amerikana kaya ako nasugatan,” said the veteran Mariano, who was still hyped that she requested teammates to capture in video the performance of her next round opponent, Ekaterina Mukhortikova of Russia.

The tall and seasoned Rivera breezed past Korean Jun Youl Cha, while in a more impressive show, Eddiva unleashed a signature side kick that teammates call the “snake tongue” in the second round and took away the legs of Armenian Sasun Hayrapetyan for a knockout win.

“Kahit mga mixed martial arts fighters sa Southeast Asia kilala ang side kick ni Mark kasi parang dila ng ahas sa bilis,” mused teammate Eduard Folayang, who bowed out after one win in the 70 kgs class.

Rifani, who deferred a career in teaching to concentrate on perfecting her sport, had a difficult fight against the taller Yasmeli Areque but the Filipina managed to consistently pile up the points in two rounds while Estimar had just enough to win against a youthful Korean, Mi Gyeong Noh.

The only dark spot for the Philippines was the end of neophyte Francisco Solis’ string of good fortunes in the 60 kgs category.

The 20-year-old Ilonggo, after two come-from-behind victories, finally yielded to Lim Anthony of France, who exploited the Filipino’s conspicuous lack of wrestling skills and heavy dependence on his fists that lured him to a short pro boxing career.

“His boxing skills are great but sanda is a combination of punching, kicking and wrestling so he has to learn them. He showed good promise in his first international stint, we are not giving up on him,” noted wushu federation secretary general Julian Camacho of their newest recruit.

Also on Thursday morning (2:30 pm Manila time) Jessie Aligaga (48 kgs) and Dembert Arcita (52 kgs) vie to join their teammates in the round of four when they go up against Lakshman Gunasekara of Sri Lanka and Gulshan of India respectively.

Back after a day’s rest on Thursday morning are Parantac’s older brother Denver and Thornton Sayan in the men’s nan dao.

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