Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Fair Play: 2012 Wekaf a tough act to follow

THE Philippines finally took home the overall title in the Wekaf World Championships, and they did it in style, winning more than half of the competition’s gold medals last week at the CICC.

In fact, if it was Philippines vs. Rest of the World, the local bets would have still won the title as they took 62 gold medals, while the rest of the field won 50. That’s how dominant the Pinoys were in the world championship and it is but fitting that we win it again since it has been declared our national martial art just recently.

Aside from the win, the way the championship was conducted was also a stark improvement and the organizers are saying it was the best-run event, ever.

The world championships usually last three days, and sometimes, the venue they rent for the staging of the event closes shop before they get to finish the matches, which is why, the final matches are usually held at the Wekaf headquarters in Sto. Nino Village, where the awarding is also usually held.

“This year, we finished the event in two days,” said King Cortel, who credited Prof. Jordan Pallen of the US and their system for the smooth running of the tournament.

This year, some 700 eskrimadors from 30 countries--including first-timers Oman, Indonesia, Leichtensein--joined the event and were treated to a spectacle during the closing ceremony at the CICC.

“It was the best awarding ceremony ever,” said SGM Diony Canete, who said the champions of the Sinulog dance contests lined up the streets going to the CICC and also had presentations.

He said Gov. Gwen Garcia made that possible after the governor read in the local papers that the Wekaf World Championships was no small tournament and told the guys in charge of the CICC to give all-out support. It was CICC that contacted the dancers.

But it’s not only the tournament that makes this Wekaf stand out, it was the recognition of the 14 eskrima legends last Wednesday, a first for Wekaf, that made it unique.

Of the hundreds of masters and grandmasters out there, only this 14 were recognized in the Order of Lapu-Lapu for their contribution to the growth of the martial art.

And that’s why, this year’s Wekaf World Championships is a tough act to follow.

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