MEMBERS of the Philippine wushu team to the 30th Southeast Asian Games are hoping that they could familiarize themselves with the actual competition venue way ahead of the others.
Wushu will be held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) from Dec. 1 to 3. The Philippines will host the biennial event from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.
Two-time SEA Games gold medalist Daniel Parantac said familiarity with the venue could spell the difference in their bid to deliver the gold.
“If we can train in the actual venue at least two weeks before the competition, it will be good for us. Actually, the earlier, the better,” he said during Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at the Amelie Hotel in Manila.
Parantac, who won gold medals in taolu during the 2013 and 2015 SEA Games then finished fourth in 2017, added that as host, Filipino wushu officials and athletes must seize the opportunity.
“If we train in the venue two or three days before the competition, that’s not enough. We need to get used to the surface. Meron kasi surface na madulas and meron din makapit,” said Parantac during the forum where he was joined by fellow wushu athlete Agatha Wong, the reigning SEA Games champion in taolu, a subjective event (judging).
The Philippines will field 12 athletes in wushu, which offers 16 gold medals in sanda and taolu events. To gear up for the competition, they underwent four months of training in China. They include Jessie Aligaga, Arnel Mandal, Carlos Baylon Jr., Francisco Solis, Clemente Tabugara Jr., Divine Wally and Jenifer Kilapio in sanda; and Thornton Sayan, Jones Inso and Johnzenth Gajo in taolu, aside from Parantac and Wong.
Wong, who is determined to keep her title, told the forum presented by San Miguel Corp., Braska Restaurant, Amelie Hotel and PAGCOR, that the China training will serve them well.
“China has the resources that no one else does. We improved a lot during our training there,” she said.
Wong, who had battled injuries to get to the top of her game, vowed to give her best.
“When we compete, we always give our best. We always assure ourselves of that. In this SEA Games, we will give our best,” she said.