FANCIED wushu bets Jessie Aligaga and Divine Wally shoot for the country’s first gold medals as they set off the Philippines’ campaign in the 2013 Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar.
Aligaga and Wally will be competing in the men and women’s 48kg sanshou event respectively, at the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium in Naypyitaw.
Aligaga and Wally are highly-favored in their respective events, according to Wushu Federation Philippines secretary general Julian Camacho.
Aligaga is coming off fresh from a silver medal finish in the World Wushu Championships in Kuala Lumpur last month. He also won the world title in 2011.
For her part, Wally finished runner up in the Asian Junior Wushu Championships in Manila last August. The SEA Games will be her second stint as a senior athlete.
“Naging world champion na si Jessie. Although baguhan si Divine, matapang at malakas ang loob niya kaya confident ako na magiging maganda ang showing natin sa 48kg,” said Camacho.
Edward Folayang and Mark Eddiva won’t be defending the gold medal they won two years ago in Indonesia, yet Camacho is still projecting the wushu team of winning at least three golds in this 27th edition of the biennial meet.
“Ang binigay nating order sa mga atleta natin is dapat mas marami tayong gold medal ngayon. We are predicting a minimum of three to five sa wushu,” Camacho exclaimed.
The Philippines hopes a good start in wushu will get the country’s campaign going in the meet, especially with local sports officials banking on the martial arts events as the likely sources of golds for the Filipino delegation.
“In these SEA Games, naka-focus tayo sa martial arts. Dito manggagaling ang mga medalya natin. Hoefully, sa umpisa ng wushu, maganda ang maging trend ng performance ng mga Filipino athletes,” said Philippines chief of mission Jeff Tamayo.
Also in the wushu line-up are Denbert Arcita (men's 52kg), Francisco Solis (men’s 56kg), and Evita Elisa Zamora (women’s 52kg), in sanshou, and John Keithley Chan, Norlene Ardee Catolico, Daniel Parantac, Kariza Kris Chan, and Natasha Enriquez in taolu.