CEBU CITY – Diminutive Prince Andreen Zipagan stood head and shoulders above the rest of Team Philippines late Saturday with an impressive sweep of all of his four junior events in the 2nd ISK World Shoto Cup Karate Championships at the Waterfront Hotel grand ballroom.
Standing only at 5-foot-4, Zipagan became the tournament’s toast after capturing the 16-17 boys individual kata and kumite titles, and then anchored the hometown bets to another golden double in the team kata and kumite championships.
The 16-year-old student, a BS Accounting freshman at University of Santo Tomas, capped a fruitful day for the Filipino junior karatekas, who bagged 16 gold, 14 silver, and eight bronze medals overall in the event sanctioned by the International Shotokan Sports Federation and supported by Smart, Uniliver and Gatorade.
“Masayo po ako sa mga gintong medalya dahil di ko po akalain na marami akong maipapanalo,” said Zipagan, who has been training for the last nine years at the Karate Development Arts and Sports Club headed by national coach David Lay, the ISKF country director for the Philippines.
Zipagan was at his best in the individual kumite finals in beating taller Canadian Victor So, 2-0, scoring the first point with a lightning-fast right punch to the chest, and then with a left reverse punch to the stomach with still 30 seconds to go in the two-minute fight.
Together with Alexander Lay, a double gold medalist in the 12-13 boys kumite and kata, and Orly Banagua, the Filipinos bagged the gold in the junior team kata with a tally of 18.7 points, relegating Argentina and the US to the silver and bronze, respectively.
Zipagan, John Paul Bejar and Rommil Orenciana outpointed Argetina, 2-1, in the finals to bag the kumite gold.
In the girls 16-17 division, Francesa Lim secured the individual kata gold, while Marimar Fontillas took the kumite gold and Lim, Fontillas and Camaich Lao shut out Argentina, 3-0, in the finals to capture the girls kumite gold.
Still fighting for honors was Fil-Am national bet OJ delos Santos, whose family traces its roots to this progressive city, after qualifying in the finals of the men’ individual kata contest last Saturday.
Delos Santos was set to dispute the gold against three Americans at the close of the competitions scheduled late Sunday.
Gracing the closing of the two-day event was Philippine Karatedo Federation presiden Joey Romasanta and Smart Sports executive Epok Quimpo.