220 arnisadors in 11 countries compete in 1st Pekaf world tourney
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Some 220 stickfighters coming from 11 countries including the Philippines gathered at the Sky Park of the SM Seaside City Cebu to compete in the 1st Philippine Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation (PEKAF) World Invitational from April 6 to 8.
According to competition manager Gerald Cañete, PEKAF headed by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, decided to hold this international event sanctioned by the World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation (WEKAF) because they wanted to show their capacity to host the Arnis competition of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
The Philippines will be hosting the 30th SEA Games from November 30 to December 10, with most competitions to be held in Clark, Pampanga.
“For the national coaches, this invitational competition is to assess the training of their athletes. For PEKAF’s part, this is to gauge our capability because our technical officials here will be the ones to officiate the SEA Games,” said Cañete, who will also serve as the competition manager for Arnis in the SEA Games.
Aside from the Philippines, other arnisadors competing are from China, Korea, India, Iran, Mexico, USA, Qatar, Oman, Belarus and Russia.
According to Supreme Grandmaster Dionisio Cañete, with the SEA Games to be held in the Philippines, they are guaranteeing 15 of the 20 gold medals at stake in the sport.
Dionisio Cañete is also looking forward to sending the Philippines’ best arnisadors to Korea next year for the first Asian World Championships.
Also gracing the event as a very special guest is Hossein Ezzati, the head of Arnis Committee of Iran.
According to Ezzati, who was speaking through an interpreter, the Philippines is a big country and is very special for him.
“The Philippines is the biggest in arnis sports,” Ezzati said and expressed his thanks to both Cañetes and Zubiri for helping him expand the sport in his country.
Ezzati also announced that Iran will host the Arnis World Championships in 2020.
Ezzati came with five players who will be competing plus two VIPs, the supervisors of Iran’s Ministry of Sports and Iranian Olympic Committee who are here to observe the competition./dbs
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