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Ph arnis team members elated with return of arnis in SEAG

IGOROT ARNISADORS. Billy Joel Valenzuela during his performance at the launching of the Heroes Portraits. Eliza Consul

Local arnisadors are elated that their event scrapped in the last Southeast Asian Games is back in the 2023 edition in Cambodia.

Crisamuel Delfin and Baguio arnisadors are elated that the Filipino martial arts got the last train to the biennial event on May next year in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, Cambodia.

“Good luck sa mapipili (good luck to the chosen ones),” wrote the 2019 SEAG gold medalist as it could be a tight race among national athletes of the sport for the few slots allowed by the host country.

Cambodia slated only 12 slots, six each per gender, for the event which was dominated by the Philippines in the 2019 edition.

Despite the small number of participants, it is still a win for the Philippines as this will be the first time that the event is held outside of the Philippines.

Arnis has been calendared in the 49 sports and 606 events for the May 5-16 competitions and which Senate President Miguel Zubiri, the Philippine Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation chair, acknowledged as a milestone.

“We in Philippine Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation (PEKAF) are very proud and very excited that we are finally seeing arnis on a SEA Games stage beyond our shores,” Zubiri said in a recent statement.

“We of course thank and appreciate the efforts of the Philippine Olympic Committee under the leadership of former Congressman and now Mayor Abraham Tolentino for the inclusion of arnis in the 32nd SEA Games, as well as the support of the Philippine Sports Commission under the new leadership of chairman Noli Eala.”

The sport will have 20 golds up for grabs and was one of the discipline that had a major contribution to the country’s overall success in the Philippine SEA Games in 2019.

The country took 14 gold, four silver and two bronze medals at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center in Angeles city, Pampanga. Samuel and University of Baguio students Abegail Abad and Elmer Manlapas accounted for three of the gold medals, while Billy Joel Valenzuela (of Saint Louis University) and Eza Rai Yalong (UB) added a silver and bronze medals each.

Vietnam finished a distant second with a 4-10-8 medal tally, Myanmar was third (1-4-16) while Cambodia was fourth and last in the competition (1-2-17). Pigeon Lobien

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