Freeman Cebu Sports

Philippine eksrimadors rule

Emmanuel B. Villaruel - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Team Philippines delivered on its promise of reclaiming lost glory in its very own martial art.

Fighting with much zest and condiference at their turf, the Filipino eskrimadors dominated the 14th World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation (WEKAF) Championship with authority, wiping out the opposition with a spectular 182-medal haul to end their 16-year title drought in the biennial tournament that formally came to a close last night at the historic Fort San Pedro.

After two days of explosive action at the J Centre Mall Convention Center in Barangay Bakilid, Mandaue City, the host country emerged as the undisputed overall champion with an unassailable medal harvest of 67 golds, 65 silvers and 50 bronzes.

"Just as what I've said earlier, this is our best chance to regain our throne," said WEKAF chairman emeritus and Supreme Grandmaster Dionisio 'Diony' Cañete. "All I can say is that I'm proud and happy that after 16 long years, we finally won the overall championship and what a sweet way to achieve it right here in the birthplace of this ingenious Filipino martial art."

There wasn't any trace of a close-quarter battle that prevailed when the two nations clashed head-on four years ago. Back in 2012 when it hosted the event at the Cebu International Convention Center, the Philippines failed to regain the overall supremacy after losing by just one gold medal to the powerhouse United States.

The Filipinos made sure it won't happen again this time.

 So dominant the Pinoy stick-fighters were that they literally trampled upon the defending champion Team USA, which finished a distant second with 41 gold, 29 silver and 34 bronze medals.

Japan emerged as a surprise third-placer with 22 golds, 12 silvers and 15 bronzes followed by Australia and Canada with a 12-5-13 and 10-10-11 medal haul, respectively.

Rounding up the top 10 performing countries were Hungary (8-6-11), Reunion Island of France (6-11-13), Italy (3-3-5), United Kingdom (2-5-8) and Liechtenstein (1-3-3).

Adding glitz to Phl's glorious quest were Dexter Bolambao, Henry Talledo and Sebastian Villanueva, who made it to the top 10 list of most bemedalled individuals.

In sweeping the top 2 spors, Bolambao scooped four golds, one silver and four bronzes, while Talledo carted away three golds and two silvers. Villanueva, listed No.8, finished with three gilts topped with one silver and one bronze. (FREEMAN)

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