by Harley F. Palangchao
The elite wushu-taulo athletes from Baguio and Benguet who helped Team Philippines to a decent finish in the 7th Asian Junior Wushu Championship were commended by the city and town councils through a resolution.
Commended in a resolution authored by Baguio Councilor Faustino Olowan were Vanessa Jo Chan, Faith Llana Andaya, Christian Nicholas Lapitan, and lone sanshuo athlete Vivine Wally.
Double gold medalist Ken Alieson Omengan, a student of San Jose High School, and Joel Casem, a gold medalist in team event and student of Lubas National High School, were also commended in a resolution authored by La Trinidad Councilor Roderick Awingan.
The local but world-class athletes-powered Team Philippines ranked 5th overall among 23 participating countries led by China. Team Philippines had six gold, six silver, and five bronze medals.
Chan, a Grade 8 student, became a double gold medalist after helping Team RP in the team event, and another gold in short arms, and another bronze.
The 11-year old Lapitan, Grade 7 from the University of Baguio Science High School, added a bronze after helping Team RP to the gold.
Ten-year old Andaya, the youngest player from UB Laboratory Elementary School, helped the eight-man team to the gold in tie with China. She was also a double silver medalist in individual events.
Wally, now a member of the national pool, won the silver medal in the 48kg category of wushu sanda, or the combat side of the Chinese martial arts.
Wally was trained by former South East Asian Games gold medalist Mark Sangiao, who is the head of Team Lakay, which is composed of former top wushu practitioners and is considered one of the best gyms in Asia.
Omengan, a third year San Jose High School student, powered the octet to the gold in the team event and earning for himself a gold in nanquan after failing to get a medal in nangun, where he won a gold in the World Championship last year in Macau, China.
Casem, a Grade 8 student from Lubas National High School, had a gold for helping the RP squad to the gold.
Wushu Federation of the Philippines Cordillera Chapter president Tony Candelaria was elated about the superb performances of his wards, saying they are equaled to world-class wushu-taulo athletes at their very young age.