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32nd SEA Games

Noelito Jose has no regrets in switching from arnis to fencing

Noelito Jose Jr. doesn’t regret his shift from arnis to fencing because he has a handful of Southeast Asian Games medals to show for it.

The 26-year-old Jose, who made the decision to become a fencer in 2015, won a silver medal in the men’s epee individual event on Saturday at the 32nd Southeast Asian Games held at Hall D of the OCIC Wedding Center in Chroy Changvar District, Cambodia.

“Para sa akin tama lang ang pagpalit ko ng sport kasi masaya ako sa naabot ko,” said Jose, who also won a silver medal in the 2022 Vietnam SEA Games and a bronze medal in the 2018 PH edition.

His pursuit of the elusive gold continues on Sunday as a member of the epee team, which is supported by the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee.

He had to switch to fencing because arnis was not included in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines calendar. Jose, who started practicing Filipino martial arts in Grade 5, achieved his biggest accomplishment as an “arnisador” when he won the gold medal in the 2013 Dumaguete Palarong Pambansa secondary boys’ (51-55) featherweight division.

However, it was as a fencer that he became an athletic scholar at the University of Santo Tomas, where he earned a degree in Bachelor of Physical Education Sports, Wellness and Management, before becoming a national team member for nearly a decade now.

“Next target ko sana makalaro sa China,” said the full-time national athlete.

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