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UE fencers shine in Malaysia meet

University of the East high school fencers Nina Canlas and James Lim dominated their respective categories, while Red Warriors rookie Willa Galvez made a significant contribution in the 2nd Malaysia Fencing Federation Minime International Fencing Championship held from Nov. 30 to Dec. 5 at the Tan Sri Hamzah Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Canlas, a Grade 9 student at UE-Manila, secured two gold medals after dominating the Under-14 and Under-17 women’s epee individual categories. She defeated Sara Sofea Idongesit of Malaysia’s Five Star Fencing Club, 15-11, in the U-14 finals, and Ching Yang of Taipei, 15-10, in the U-17 finals.

Nina, the eldest of three Canlas siblings of UE head coach and former national team chief mentor Rolando “Amat” Canlas Jr., earned her third gold when she teamed up with UE rookie Juliana Jimenez, Justa Sandoval, and Zoey Velasco of Canlas Fencing in a 45-41 win over Malaysia’s Bekking Fencing in the U-17 team women’s epee.

On the other hand, Lim secured a thrilling 15-13 victory over Saif Nordin of Malaysia’s Touche Fencing Club in the U-14 men’s foil finals. Now in his 10th grade at UE, Lim aims to defend the gold in the junior’s category in the upcoming UAAP Season 86 Fencing Championship in March 2024.

“It’s a good campaign for the UE fencers. Their participation here in KL is part of training as preparation continues for the UAAP,” said Canlas, who also witnessed solid performances from Galvez and UE’s sabre team of Nicol Canlas and Shy Catantan, as well as Mika Ragot in epee.

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Galvez, whose participation is supported by Converge, Nickel Asia Corp., NLEX, JeorgiaMed Inc., San Miguel Corp., Rain or Shine, and Pocari Sweat Phil., had her breakthrough win in international competition as she captured the U-14 gold medal in women’s foil by defeating Singapore’s Lam Xin Ying of Absolute Fencing, 15-9.

Now a Grade 7 student at UE, Galvez, 12, concluded the six-day meet with the most medals (seven) as she helped the U-12 team with CF’s Yuna Canlas, Hagia del Castillo, and Lily Juico win the title against Absolute Fencing Singapore. The trio of Galvez, Canlas, and del Castillo then teamed up with Riese Santiago to win the gold in the U-17 against Malaysia’s Persatuan Lawan.

Born in Tondo (Brgy. 188), Galvez also earned two silvers after placing second in women’s individual epee behind Idongesit in the U-12 division and U-12 sabre team event with Nicol Canlas, Shy Catantan, and Wynter Ang. Galvez also secured a pair of bronze medals – U-12 individual foil and U-12 mixed team epee.

The other top Filipino performers in the tournament were Yuri Canlas (U-8 women’s foil), Elijah Timbol (U-10 men’s foil), Yuna Canlas (U-12 women’s foil), Lucas Palafox (U-12 men’s foil), Gael Villaluna (U-12 men’s epee), and Oscar del Castillo (U-14 men’s epee), all from CF, and Leevi Chan of Republic Fencing (U-8 men’s foil).

Matteo Canlas joined forces with cousin Yuri Canlas and Flame Go in winning the mixed epee U-10 category, while Villaluna collaborated with Thade Go, Lance Dy, and Jonathan Pascual in dominating the U-12 men’s team epee.

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