May 27, 2024

■  Ofelia C. Empian

Cordillera wushu athlete Xander Alipio clinched a gold medal in the 2024 International Wushu Invitational Tournament in Jiangsu, China on April 25.

Alipio has defeated Hong Kong’s Yu Hong Leung, 2-1, in the finals of the 60-kilogram sanda (full contact) event.

WUSHU SANDA CHAMPION — Cordillera’s own Xander Alipio was jubilant during awarding ceremony, as he clinched the gold medal in the men’s 60-kilogram of the 2024 International Wushu Invitational Tournament in Jiangsu, China on April 25. — Wushu Federation of the Philippines photo

Prior to that, he edged Milon Ali of Bangladesh, 2-0, in the semifinals after hurdling the quarterfinals with a technical knockout of Toktar Yermekbayev of Kazakhstan.

The 21-year-old Alipio was emotional after receiving the positive verdict of his first international win after joining previous international tournaments and not being able to step to the podium.  

“Since I lost my first two international tournaments, I know how you may have seen that I doubted this platform which I have been placed in, where I was tempted to give up and listen to what other people would say. But truly, in the Lord, there is no shame in taking the longer path compared to others, especially when He is the one that made and prepared it,” Alipio said in his social media post.

Fellow Filipino campaigner Carlos Baylon, Jr. secured a bronze, also in the sanda men’s 56-kg.

Baylon knocked out Indian Abishek Jamwal in the quarterfinals but bowed to a Chinese opponent in the semis.

He however redeemed himself with a win against Sermikli Dogkan in the playoff for bronze.

Taolu (form) athletes Johnzenth Gajo, Vincent Ventura, and Cordillera pride Jones llabres Inso are also competing during the event participated in by top athletes throughout Asia.

“Your hard work, skill, and dedication have made our nation proud,” the Wushu Federation Philippines stated, as it lauded the Filipino athletes.

The national squad was accompanied by coaches Jessie Aligaga and Li Jian Fang and head of delegation Samson Co.