Chavit Singson to the rescue
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - October 30, 2018 - 12:00am

There is proof of life in the rejuvenated Philippine National Shooting Association (PNSA) with newly-elected president Gov. Chavit Singson pumping air back into the organization previously wracked by a political power struggle that led to the suspension of the athletes’ training program.

Singson dug into his own pockets to settle the PNSA’s unliquidated amount of nearly P500,000 and put it in good standing with the PSC and POC. “We are very fortunate to now have Gov. Singson supporting us,” said 2016 national champion Joaquin Ancheta. “We hope his presence brings the much-needed revamp in our association.” 

A clear sign of the PNSA’s recovery was when the Philippines ended a five-year medal drought at the 43rd South East Asia Shooting Association (SEASA) Championships in Taipei this month. The event gathered over 200 shooters from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and the Philippines.

London Olympian Brian Rosario, 36, fired three rounds of 24 and finished with 110 points to claim the bronze in skeet. Taiwan’s Tsai Yi Hsuan took the gold with 120 points, spiked by three perfect rounds of 25. In the team skeet event, the Philippines bagged the silver with Rosario, Ancheta and Enrique Enriquez conspiring to compile 309 points behind Taiwan’s 340. Vicente Aggabao also competed for the Philippines in skeet and landed No. 17. The skeet competition was held over three days in rainy weather.

Rosario said the team went all out to honor the memory of late teammate Renzo Suntay who died last April. “Renzo unfortunately had undiagnosed depression,” said Ancheta. “We, his teammates, did not even get a whiff of this in spite of being with him every day. One Saturday morning, he just woke up and decided to take his own life, using his shotgun. We are devastated by his loss. He was only 20 and part of our national pool. What a waste. There’s still no explanation as to why he did it.”

A surprise performer in Taipei was Enriquez who took a long sabbatical before returning to the firing range. “It’s an honor to bring home the silver in my first international competition in 11 years and only two months since my return to skeet,” said Enriquez. “It’s always a privilege to bring glory to our flag and country.” The team was coached by retired SEA Games gold medalist Darius Hizon who also funded himself in support of the PNSA’s new generation. 

At the recent Asian Games, the Philippines failed to bag a single medal. There were 60 medals at stake and 14 of 33 countries landed a podium finish. China had the most shooters with 30 while South Korea and Indonesia entered 28 each. The Philippines was represented by Amparo Acuna, Jayson Valdez, Hagen Topacio and Ancheta. Acuna, the country’s only shooting medalist with a bronze in 50-m rifle prone at the 2017 SEA Games, did not advance to the finals in two events in Palembang, finishing 26th in 50-m rifle three positions and 40th in 10-m air rifle. Valdez was 17th in 10-m air rifle and 20th in 50-m rifle three positions, also failing to qualify for the finals. Topacio was third in the first qualifying and fifth in the second qualifying but wound up sixth in the trap final. Ancheta was 26th in both the first and second qualifying in skeet and did not advance.

Next up for the Philippines is the Asian Shooting Championships in Kuwait on Nov. 2-12. The national team will be made up of Denise Basila, Acuna, Topacio, Shanin Gonzales, Elvie Baldivino, Itos Carag, Rosario, Ancheta, Valdez and Michael Fernandez. Topacio, Carag, Ancheta and Rosario are in shotgun events while the others are in rifle. Topacio and Carag are in trap while Ancheta and Rosario are in skeet which uses a double-barreled shotgun to shoot two simultaneous clay targets. In trap shooting, single targets are released from a machine away from the shooter. “The competitors in Kuwait are mainly the same as in the Asian Games,” said Ancheta. “It will involve hundreds of shooters. It’s the accredited event for the continent by the IOC.”

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