THE Wushu Federation of the Philippines (WFP), headed by Freddie Jalasco, is making all the right moves at the right time to boost its chances in the coming Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi.
One of them is turning to world champion China for help in the training of national athletes in Wuhan.
“Wuhan has one of the biggest sports institutes specializing in sanda, or what we also call the Chinese kickboxing,” said former world champion-turned-coach Samson Co during his appearance in the “Usapang Sports on Air” by the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) via Zoom.
“There’s nothing to worry because Wuhan, which is the epicenter of COVID-19, is very safe now. I have already personally confirmed it,” added Co in the weekly public service program sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and Games and Amusements Board (GAB).
“In sanda, we really need good sparring partners. Kung dito lang tayo mag-training, sila-silang mga atleta natin lang ang mag-sparring at wala na sila kalaban. So we plan to bring six to seven athletes to China and train in some of the sports universities there,”added Co, who is best remembered for winning the gold medal in qiang (spear) in the world championship in Malaysia in 1993.
“Sa tingin ko, tuloy-tuloy na yang training ng team hanggang SEA Games sa May tatapos babalik uli sa training para sa Asian Games naman sa September. Siguro ang whole duration ng training is six months, more or less.”
Co said top Chinese wushu coaches will be tapped to supervise the training of the Filipino athletes during their stay in Wuhan.
“We’ll check our athletes’ training there from time to time. They will be handled by experts. Kailangan din kasi na may mga coaches na mag-handle ng team sa mga maiiwan dito.”
Co lauded the decision of the PSC to allow the national athletes to resume their training by the second week of January 2022.
“By that time, pwede na kami bumalik sa venue namin sa Philippine Center for Sports Medicine Building inside Rizal Memorial Sports Complex. Dapat sana nun June pero medyo na-delay dahil sa construction na undergoing. In case na matuloy na, ang plano namin is to isolate our athletes. Wala na silang uwian para mas safe sa lahat. So yung taolu team natin will have bubble training there.”
Asked about his medal projection for the coming SEA Games, Co said he wanted to see the athletes get back into training first after two years of inactivity.
“In 2019 SEA Games in Manila, we captured the overall championship with seven golds, two silvers and two bronzes. Sa Vietnam, mahirap sabihin lalo na almost two years tayong walang competition at naging very limited ang training kumpara sa ibang bansa,” explained Co.
“And based on the informations na nakuha ko, mas malakas lalo ang Vietnam dahil nga sila ang host. Historically, yun host country naman talaga ay laging malakas. Saka hindi sila masyado affected ng pandemic at tuloy-tuloy lang ang training nila.”
Co said Agatha Wong, who captured two gold medals in the women’s taijiquan and taijijian events, and Jessie Aligaga, who bagged the gold in men’s sanda 48kg, are assured of slots in the Hanoi-bound national team.
The other gold medal winners for the Philippines in 2019 SEA Games were Arnel Mandal men’s samda 52 kg), Francisco Solis ( men’s sanda 5 kg) Clemente Tabugara,Jr. (men’s sanda 65 kg), and Divine Wally (women’s sanda 48 kg).
The two silver medalists were Jones Llabres Inso (men’s taijijan) and Giden Fred Padua (men’s sanda 60kg), while bronze medalists were Daniel Parantac (men’s taijiquan) and the team of Inso, Johnzenth Gazo and Thornton Quiney Lou Sayan (men’s dualian).
“Sa wushu, we always do our best,” said Co.