(SPOT.ph) Filipino athletes completely dominated the Arnis competition in the 30th Southeast Asian Games—but with a total of 14 gold medals, four silvers, and two bronzes, "dominated" is practically an understatement. As of writing, it is the single sport with the most medals for the regional meet and with only 20 events for Arnis, scheduled throughout December 1, 2, and 3, it's safe to say it was an absolute sweep for the national arnisadores.
The Arnis team cemented their gold collection for the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games on December 3 by topping both men's and women's anyo non-traditional open weapon events. Dressed as an Igorot warrior, Crisamuel Delfin of Benguet masterfully wielded a massive bolo right to first place with an average of 9.87 points.
Palarong Pambansa veteran Mary Allin Aldeguer, in her turn, delivered a fiery routine that almost made us take a step back from our screens—all this with a hurt ankle. The athlete from Rizal bagged the gold medal with 9.64 points.
Day 2 of the competition on December 2 yielded a grand total of seven gold medals for the padded stick games. Jedah Mae Soriano fought her way to top place for the women's featherweight class. Teammates Sheena Del Monte, Abegail Abad, and Ross Ashley Monville dominated the bantamweight, welterweight, and lightweight categories for a complete golden sweep of the women's division.
The men's side also garnered three more shiny gold medals: Elmer Manlapaz bagged the top spot for the featherweight class. Teammates Jesfer Huquire overtook participants in the bantamweight category while Carloyd Tejada topped the welterweight category.
The live stick event on December 1 ended with a total of five gold medals for the Philippine team. Dexler Bolambao topeed the bantamweight category, while teammates Nino Mark Taledo, Villardo Cunamay, and Mike Banares struck gold in the featherweight, lightweight, and welterweight classes, respectively.
Jezebel Morcillo also gave the women's team their first Arnis gold by dominating the bantamweight class. The five gold medals concided with the glorious reentry of Arnis in the SEA Games. It was last played for the regional meet in 2005.
With the goldmine the Arnis team delivered, Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, president of the Philippine Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation, has promised all of them a trip to Hong Kong before Christmas this 2019. Originally, they had eyed a goal of 12 gold medals, but it's clear their hard work has surpassed expectations. Cheers to the team and fingers crossed for even more medals in the future!
Main image from the Philippine Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation Facebook page.