The 14th edition of the biennial World Esrima-Kali-Arnis Federation (Wekaf) World Championships will be hosted by Mandaue City, and Filipino stick-fighters are hoping that the home court advantage will work wonders in their bid to reclaim lost glory.
The gathering of some of the world’s finest arnisadors will be held on July 20-24 at JCentre Mall in A.S. Fortuna Street in Mandaue.
Led by defending champion United States, the tournament will showcase at least 500 stick-fighters seeing action in more than 100 events.
“At least 30 countries have confirmed their participation. We are thanking JCentre Mall for helping us promote the sport of arnis,” Engr. Michael Cañete, president of Wekaf Philippines and chairman of the organizing committee, said in a press briefing yesterday at the convention hall of JCentre.
“We are prepared for the event. Our convention hall can accommodate 1,500 people and is huge enough to host this kind of event,” said John Go, assistant mall manger of JCentre.
Some 130 Filipino arnisadors will try to duplicate the resounding achievement that the country made in the 12th edition that was held at the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC).
It was in that meet that Filipino martial artists bagged the overall championship by hauling 62 gold medals, 36 silvers and 36 bronzes.
But from a championship finish, Filipino stick-fighters suffered a huge meltdown when they failed to win a single title in the 13th edition hosted by Hungary.
“We don’t have titles to defend this year. But we have prepared for this tournament and we have a very strong team. Members of the team who are from outside Cebu were asked to fly in two weeks before the tournament so they could practice with us and improve their conditioning,” said Dionisio Cañete, chairman emeritus of Wekaf.
The event is open to the public.
“This is free of charge so we are inviting the Cebuanos to watch and support our fighters and also support the sport of Arnis,” added Dionisio.