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Heroes wall of famer Saclag returns to wushu in Baguio day event

BACK TO HIS ROOTS. 2014 Asian Games silver medalist for wushu sanda and 2019 and 2021 Southeast Asian Games kickboxing champion Jean Claude Saclag poses in front of his mural at the Baguio athletic bowl. Pigeon Lobien

Jean Claude Saclag, who was one of the top prospects to replace Mark Sangiao and Eduard Folayang in wushu sanda, is back in the sport he excelled in before joining another martial art where he also excelled.

Eight years after his silver performance in the Asian Games in Busan, South Korea, Saclag is back with his original mentor Tony Candelaria in the Baguio Day Wushu Tournament Saturday, September 24, at the Baguio City High School gym.

Saclag competes in the 65 kilogram category but failed to make weight early Friday morning that forced him to jog around the bleachers of the Baguio athletic bowl grandstand with the hood of his jacket covering his head to lose the extra weight.

“I was a kilo above my weight so I had to jog and lose it,” Saclag told this writer in Iloko, wearing a black with neon green sweats.

“Those (involved) are those painted at the walls,” quipped Sangiao, who was at the Baguio athletic bowl, referring to Candelaria, Saclag and even Rhea May Rifani, his former team mate then ward when he coached the Philippine wushu team after winning the gold in wushu sanda (sanshuo then) in the 2001 Southeast Asian Games.

Rifani teaches MAPEH at BCHS and is also the wushu sanda team. She won a gold in the 2005 SEAG in Manila.

Saclag won the gold medal in kickboxing the past two SEAG, 2019 in Manila and last May in Hanoi, Vietnam, wins beside the 2014 Asiad silver propelled him to the Heroes: Wall of Fame mural. He shares the wall with Rifani.

Sangiao and Folayang were the first to make it to the Heroes Wall of Fame, a 14 by 24 feet mural he shares with Team Lakay members and champions – Geje Eustaquio, Joshua Pacio, Honorio Banario, Kevin Belingon, Crisanto Pitpitunge and Stephen Loman.

Folayang is a three time SEAG gold medalist.

Also in the Heroes mural is 2005 SEAG gold medalist Mark Eddiva. The Macao based fighter is a former Team Lakay who fought in the UFC.

Their murals were done by another Team Lakay, Harold Banrio, who fought in the Dubai-based Brave Championship.

Other wushu team members in the Heroes murals are: Divine Wally and Beijing Olympic bronze medalists Mariane Mariano and Benjie Rivera. Their paintings were done by Gladys Labsan. Pigeon Lobien

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