For the Philippines, a return to the Summer Olympics in the sport of fencing will have to wait at least three more years.
Jylyn Nicanor lost a close 12-15 encounter against third-seed Lam Hin Wai of Hong Kong in the Table of 8 matches of the women’s individual sabre event in the 2021 Asia Oceania Olympics Qualifying Tournament, Monday in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
The 2019 Southeast Asian Games gold medalist trailed early after relentless attacks from Lam at 3-6, but she was able to keep up to eventually go level at 7. The Hong Kong sabreuse then caught Nicanor on her attack and went on the break with the 8-7 advantage.
Nicanor then had to deal with another three-point deficit at 10-13 and eventually cut it down to one at 12-13 after back-to-back hits. That turned out to be the Filipino champion’s last hurrah as Lam eventually took two of her own for the win.
The 28-year-old earlier split her assignments in the Round of Pools at 2-2 after winning over Samantha Auty of Australia and Phung Thi Khanh Linh of Vietnam. Her losses came from Najmeh Sazanjian of Iran and a close one from Lam at 4-5.
Zaynab Dayibekova of Uzbekistan booked her place in the Olympics after her huge 15-6 over Kazakhstan’s Aigerim Sarybay in the finals.
Three-time UAAP MVP Nathaniel Perez, on the other hand, could not carry his momentum into the direct eliminations and bombed out after a sorry 9-15 defeat from Chinese Taipei’s Chen Chih Chieh in Table of 16 of men’s foil.
The Filipino foilist swept his assignments in the Round of Pools but was seeded into number four as the three top seeds were exempted from the pools including eventual winner Huang Mengkai of China.
Huang was dominant as well in his final to clinch the berth to the Games, 15-4, against the young Malaysian Hans Yoong.
Hanniel Abella closed Team Pilipinas’ campaign after a stunning loss to Mongolia’s Amarzaya Batsaikhan, 3-15, in the women’s epee’s Table of 16.
It was 1992 when Walter Torres last competed for the country in Olympic fencing. The then-24-year-old went out with a 1-5 record in the Round of Pools in men’s foil.