With the next Southeast Asian Games to be hosted by the Philippines just around the corner, Akari, in partnership with the Philippine Fencing Association, hopes to develop the next batch of heroes that could put the country in the sport’s world map.
Speaking to Akari Sports during the Akari Asian U23 Fencing Championships at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City, Philippine Fencing Association Secretary General Rene Gacuma expressed his appreciation for Akari’s support not just to the more popular sports like basketball and volleyball but in events with relatively smaller following like fencing as well.
“We are very fortunate and grateful that Akari has partnered with us and supported this because this is already in line with the development of the sport of fencing for the Southeast Asian Games which we are hosting next year,” he said.
With 17 countries from all over the continent gathering in Manila on October 16-21, Gacuma is optimistic that the tournament could boost our country’s fencing bets’ chances in duplicating what Filipino athletes has achieved in weightlifting, golf, and skateboarding in recent international competitions.
“You get honed by competing with other fencers from different countries. Little by little, even by observing alone, their exposure will directly and indirectly hone their skills,” Gacuma shared.
Although winning any medal in the Olympics soon is a bit farfetched, Gacuma said that with the help of Akari, step-by-step, the Philippines could reap rewards in the regional stage first and then beyond.
“Maybe not in 2020 yet, but if we get anyone qualified to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, that’s already fortunate. But speaking of the future, we are not holding back, there is so much potential, it’s just a a matter of educating the young kids to the sport.”
They are keen, however, to take a chunk in the regional scene especially in the SEAGames here.
“Akari as this event’s title sponsor, helps us prepare for the Southeast Asian Games as fencing alone has a maximum of 12 golds. It’s an event where 12 golds can be won so how can you go wrong?”
Despite lagging behind basketball, boxing, and other sports in terms of popularity, Gacuma says that fencing has been growing for years now and it will not be long before the country can bring honor through one of the oldest sporting events in the Olympiad.
“The outreach program that fencing basically has has been growing for over two decades already, from 1987 when the Philippine Fencing Team started in the Southeast Asian Games. We saw it grow, be part of the UAAP, and it has already reached far and wide, and with Akari’s national presence, we are grateful that Akari partnered with us.”