Former wushu champ targets crown in sambo
Rene Catalan
Joey Mendoza

Former wushu champ targets crown in sambo

Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) - November 29, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Fourteen years after delivering a wushu gold in the Southeast Asian Games, Rene Catalan is back to mount a battle in the region’s premier sportsfest again – but in another martial art event.

“I’m thankful of the opportunity to compete in the SEA Games and represent the country again,” said Catalan, who captured the sanshou gold in the 2005 Manila Games.

This time, however, the Iloilo native, now 40, will be competing in sambo.

“I hope to win the gold also in this sport,” he added.

In sambo, meaning self-defense without weapons, Catalan will be bringing a wealth of experience, including stints in mixed martial arts fight outfit ONE championship where he came one win away from becoming a champion, losing the crown to countryman Joshua Pacio.

In his wushu days, Catalan has won almost every competition he took part in – the SEAG, Asian Games, World Cup and World Championship.

Now he wants to add another in the sport that originated from the old Soviet Union which is similar to wrestling.

“I just want to be an inspiration to our countrymen and show them age is just a number,” said Catalan.

Interestingly, Catalan is the second Filipino champion coming out of retirement to compete in another event, the other one being former SEAG judo medalist John Baylon, who will be vying in Kurash.

Sambo is scheduled Dec. 5 and 6 at the Angeles University Foundation Gymnasium in Angeles, Pampanga.         

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