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Daena Talavera narrowly missed a historic first medal for the Philippines in the 2021 World Junior and Cadet Fencing Championships. Photo courtesy of FIE.


Daena Talavera almost makes it to World Junior Fencing Championships podium

Daena Talavera rewrote the record books after finishing in seventh place in the cadet women’s foil individual event of the 2021 World Junior and Cadet Fencing Championships, Wednesday evening in Cairo, Egypt.

Talavera, 16, almost made it into the semifinals of the worlds and could have clinched the country’s first medal. Unfortunately, she could not finish against Romania’s Maria Cojocari and suffered a sorry loss at 14-15.

Nonetheless, the young foilist ended with the Philippines ‘ highest placing yet in the Junior/Cadet Worlds. Samantha Catantan previously held the distinction after ended in 16th overall in the 2019 edition.

Talavera exited direct eliminations in the first round of the juniors division just the previous day. She had a solid run in the round of pools in the cadets, winning all of her bouts en route to the fifth seed in the knockouts.

The US-based fencer earlier defeated Uzbekistan’s Marjona Uzmonova, 15-11, and hometown bet Malak Hamza, 15-7, to set up the quarterfinal showdown against Cojocari.

Talavera went back into her third and final day of action on Thursday, joining forces with Catantan and fellow US-based foilist Annika Santos to carry the flag for the juniors team event.

At the end of the long day, the Philippines ended in 14th place after losing the 13th-14th place playoff against Spain, 32-45.

The Philippines could have made it to at best ninth place, only Turkey got the better of them in the 9th-16th bracket match, 42-45. In this relay, Talavera showed up to tighten the gap in the fifth bout against Turkish top fencer Alisa Isbir with a 5-2 win and 20-22 overall score. Nazli Alioglu sent the opponents back in the lead, before Isbir made amends and closed it out against Catantan.

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Catantan and the team earlier went into the second round with a dominant 45-13 win over India. They then took a heavy defeat against the top-seeded Russians, 23-45. Later, they bounced back with a 45-36 win over Mexico.

Team Philippines will look to close out their campaign in the tournament on a high note with UAAP Season 82 Rookie of the Year Miggy Bautista taking on the best young epeeists on Friday.

Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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