Archery Archery couple Paul and Rachelle Anne dela Cruz will lead the Filipinos’ campaign in Hanoi.

Pinoy archers hope to hit the bullseye in Hanoi

March 21, 2022 Ed Andaya 417 views

HERE’S no way to go but up for the World Archery Philippines (WAP).

Despite winning only one gold medal during the 2019 Southeast Asian Games in Manila, Filipino archers hope they can do better in the biennial competition scheduled May 12-23 in Vietnam.

A bullseye in archery in Hanoi, if you ask 1995 SEAG champion-turned-coach Clint Sayo.

And why not?

“When it comes to winning medals again, I am very positive that our archers can do it in Hanoi. We won only one gold in Manila in 2019, kaya natitiyak kong kaya natin itong lagpasan,” said Sayo during the weekly “Sports On Air” podcast.

“With or without the pandemic the whole team is training together, working together. Tuloy-tuloy yun preparations. So I can tell you now, siguradong kukuha kami ng medalya at mahihigitan namin yun one gold medal na nakuha natin sa previous SEA Games,” added Sayo.

The return of the husband and wife team of Paul and Rachelle Anne dela Cruz, who captured the gold medal in the mixed team compound during the 2019 SEA Games in Manila, is only one of the many reasons for Sayo’s new-found optimism.

In archery, we were allowed by the POC (Philippine Olympic Committee) to have three athletes plus one reserve. So there will be eight archers in compound and eight archers in recurve,” explained Sayo, who bagged the gold medal in men’s individual recurve during the Chiang Mai SEA Games in 1995.

“For the men’s side in the compound, we have Paul Marton Dela Cruz, Johann Olaño and Florante Matan and reserves Arnold Rojas and Niño Maandig. In the women’s side are Jennifer Chan, Andrea Robles and Rachel dela Cruz and reserves Daphne Austria and Abby Tindugan.”

“In men’s recurve are Jason Feliciano, Girvin Garcia, Jonatha Reaport and reserves Riley Silos and Chkeil Enecio. The women’s side will have sisters Abby and Pia Bidaure and Phoebie Amistoso. Yung reserves natin are the ones coming from Baguio, Danielle Dimares and Ketura Gonzalez.

Sayo said the country will participate in all 10 events — individual, men’s and women’s recurve and compound, team events in both compound and recurve and mixed team events in both divisions.”

Sayo said funding continues to be a big problem, however.

“For the coming SEA Games, only the compound team has a budget. Yung sa recurve side, we have to do self-fund kasi walang budget. Hindi kasi kami nanalo even a single medal sa recurve. That time, ang mga players natin puro lahat bago at mga bata pa. Yung pinakamatanda natin is 20 years old, yun iba meron 16, 14 years old.”

“That’s why we are now looking for sponsors dahil medyo malaki ang kakailanganin na pera. WAP president Atty. Clint Aranas is also looking for some private sponsorship na makakatulong para maipadala ang buong recurve team natin sa darating na SEA Games.”

Sayo also said WAP initially wanted to send the whole team to an invitational tournament in Thailand, but failed to do so due to budget constraints.

“Yun sa Bangkok, Thailand ay isa sana sa mga events na pupuntahan natin for our athletes to know their own level compared to the other athletes in Southeast Asia. Pero I think na-disapproved yun request for financial assistance siguro dahil hindi gaano malaki ang budget natin ngayon sa PSC dahil na din sa pandemic,” explained Sayo.

“So ang umalis lang papuntang Bangkok ay yung recurve men’s team of Feliciano, Garcia and Reaport. Sila lahat ang gagastos, sila lahat maghati-hati sa maging expenses nila dun. Kasama din nila ang personal coach at parents nila. Gusto talaga nilang pumunta dahil bago nga ang mga batang ito and they wanted to see the outcome of their training.”

Sayo also underscored the importance of giving exposure to the national team.

“Yun mga baguhan natin, they really need exposure lalo na sa mga international competitions. We also need to know kung nasaan na ang level ng mga bata ngayon. If we don’t have those international exposures, we will never really know and assess their strength kung laging dito lang sila mag-compete.”

“Aside from major international competitions, we also need more local competitions. Kagaya ngayon, we just started the Philippine Cup na face-to-face for the first time in long time. Hopefully this year makumpleto namin ang stages ng Philippine Cup and of course, the National Championships.”

Asked about their training and preparations for the coming SEA Games, Sayo continued to hold even virtual competitions during the lockdown.

“Sa archery, hindi naman nahinto ang training kahit may pandemic. Yun mga atleta natin na bumalik na sila sa kanya-kanyang probinsya, May mga virtual competitions naman kami.”

“At the moment, nandito kami sa Marikina for the Philippine Cup Stage 1. So nandito lahat ang mga archers natin na napili to represent the country in the coming SEA Games. Full team ng compound and recurve. Dito lahat kami mag-ensayo.”

“After the Holy Week, we will move to Dumaguete for the Philippine Cup 2 on April 20. Very supportive sila lahat sa Dumaguete and they help a lot by providing what we need in our preparations for the SEA Games. A week before, babalik na kami ng Manila.”

In the 2019 SEA Games, Vietnam and Thailand captured three gold medals each while Indonesia bagged two golds during the archery competitions held at Clark Parade grounds in Pampanga.

The Vietnamese also pocketed two silvers and one bronze to edge the Thais for the overall championship.

Host Philippines and Malaysia took one gold medal each.

And like WAP secretary-general Rosendo Sombrio said in previous interviews, Sayo claimed the Filipino archers are ready for payback.

Even if Vietnam, the defending archery champion, will be the host this time around.
“Sabi nga, gusto natin makabawi. Maganda yun performance nila dito sa Manila last December 2019. So, this is our chance.” With reports from Gab Ferreras