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Igorot wushin jin hopes for medal in SEA Games

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BAGUIO CITY – Baguio-grown Gideon Padua is eager to take a long four-month training in China as the nine-member Philippine Wushu sanda team will finally depart for Chengdu, Sichuan, China on July 7.

“It’s my first time to train abroad,” the 18-year old Padua told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Tuesday via FB messenger.

Padua will now man the 60-kilogram division as he tries to prepare for the Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) at Chengdu University’s Physical Education department.

“I will miss those people behind me my family, friends, and others,” said Padua, who just received his senior high school diploma from the Pasay National High School.

“I’m excited to learn new [skills] abroad,” Padua said as wushu has been a medal source for the Philippines which hopes to duplicate its first-place finish in the biennial meet in 2005 when the Philippines hosted the event.

The alumnus from the Pines City National High School flies to China with veteran wushu sanda campaigner Divine Wally.

Padua won a bronze medal in the World Junior Wushu Championship in 2017 in Korea earning him a slot in the national team.

A student of 2008 Beijing Olympics bronze medalist Benjie Rivera, Padua was supposed to see action in Brazil last year, but the Wushu Federation of the Philippines lacked the budget to send him, Wally said.

“Maglalaro din sana sila last year sa Brazil kaso hindi natuloy kasi wala daw budget (He was supposed to play in Brazil last year but then there was no budget),” Wally said, referring to the World Junior Wushu Championship.

“Makakasama ko siya (I will be with him) next for our four-months China training,” Wally said, referring to Padua who will enter college this school year.

But Padua is unsure if he will see action in the 15th World Wushu Championship this October where Wally hopes to repeat her success in 2015 when she won the gold in the 54-kilogram division.

“Hindi ko po alam kung paglalaruin ako (I still do not know if they [WFP] will let me play),” said Padua, referring to the event in Shanghai, China on October 19 to 23.

The wushu sanda team was supposed to leave last June 2 to train at the Wuhan University in Hubei, China even as the wushu taolu team that include Daniel Parantac and two Cordillerans left for Fuzhian, China that day for their five-month preparation.

Taolu involves martial art patterns, acrobatic movements, and techniques for which competitors are judged and given points according to specific rules.

On the other hand, sanda, also known as Chinese boxing, combines full-contact kickboxing with close range and rapid successive punches and kicks.

Both the Philippine Olympics Committee and Philippine Sports Commission are optimistic of the two teams’ medal potential in the SEAG, putting pressure on the players to perform well.