Cordillera gets kick out of wushu
- Artemio Dumlao () - August 11, 2002 - 12:00am
BAGUIO CITY – A Chinese wushu champion, who is his country’s hope for Asiad and Olympic glory until an injury ended his young career, is hoping to make world champions out of the Igorots and Bontocs of the Cordilleras.

Wushu Federation of the Philippines - Cordillera president Tony Candelaria (Tsing Tsung Tsai) said this will soon be a reality in the region as he presented Zhang Zhao Peng, the country’s new coach in wushu taulo, over the weekend.

An expert in broadsword (daoshu) and cudgel (gunshu), the 24-year old from Tien-tien City (near Beijing) will be the first import from China to coach in the country. "It’s really flattering and I am happy that the WFP provided us with the services of Zhang," said Candelaria.

Zhang arrived in Baguio last week with Candelaria, who accompanied the RP wushu (sanshuo) squad in the World Wushu Championship in Shanghai, China.

Zhang, who speaks only Mandarin, is a former top Chinese artist in daoshu and gunshu. He was the over-all champion in last year’s Chinese Olympics, held every four years. He also won the cudgel event in 1998 and 1999.

In broadsword, he was the champion in 1999 and 2000.

Born in Tien tien in 1978, Zhang started playing taulo in 1982 at a tender age of four. His daily routine is a grueling eight-hour exercise that starts at eight in the morning and ends at eight in the evening.

At the age of six, Zhang started competing in Tien tien where he reigned supreme until 1989. He became part of the Chinese team in 1990, at only 12 years old. Two years after, he became a national champion in sparring. In 1996, he became a national champion in taulo.But it was in 1997, during the All-China national championships, where he made his mark.

Barely 19 years old, Zhao showed promise when he finished fourth over-all. Just as he was tapped to compete outside China, he suffered a career-threatening injury.

The national coaching staff had to lay him off last year because of a right-knee injury that needed surgery. The end came this year when he was asked to retire and be part of the coaching staff.

When the WFP requested for a taulo coach, the WF of China named Zhang. For the first time, a Chinese instructor direct from China will fly to the Philippines and teach hungry but talented wushu players.

"You have the talent, you have lots of children eager to learn the sport," Zhao said with Candelaria translating from Mandarin into English.

Zhang will stay in Baguio for the next two years. He said he will try learning Filipino and a little English.

"He will be a great help. We hope to teach our players the sport. Taulo is now our focus since sanshuo is already in place," Candelaria added.

A CHINESE ASIAD AND OLYMPIC CANDELARIA CHINESE OLYMPICS IGOROTS AND BONTOCS OF THE CORDILLERAS TONY CANDELARIA TSING TSUNG TSAI WORLD WUSHU CHAMPIONSHIP WUSHU FEDERATION OF THE PHILIPPINES ZHANG ZHANG ZHAO PENG
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