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PH fencing ace Sam Catantan eyes 2024 Olympics slot

After failing to punch a ticket to the Tokyo Olympics, Filipino fencer Sam Catantan is now setting her sights on the next big thing: the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Catantan, a scholar at Penn State University, fell short in the senior women's foil event of the Asia-Oceania Olympic Qualification Tournament in Tashkent, Uzbekistan last 26 April, winning only a bronze medal.

Although the loss came as a setback, Catantan stressed it will only keep her hungry in her attempt to enter — and possibly, win a medal — in the 2024 Summer Games.

“Of course, I regret it since it’s an Olympic Qualifying. I regret that I was not able to reach the finals. And we all knew that the competition was tough because the participants were the top players of their respective country,” Catantan said in Filipino during an interview on Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) forum Tuesday.

Philippine fencing team head coach Rolando ‘Amat’ Canlas backed Catantan’s sentiments, saying it was disappointing to see Catantan’s hard-earned preparation go down the drain as her Tokyo Olympics dream slipped out of her hand.

After all, Catantan had the golden chance to be the third Filipino fencer to appear in the Olympic stage after Percival Alger and Walter Torres had done the feat in the 1988 Seoul Olympics and 1992 Barcelona Games, respectively.

“Everything is falling into place because we’re in the right direction and we might be unlucky now but I saw that it’s really possible,” said Canlas, also in Filipino.

Canlas, however, admitted that booking a 2024 Olympics slot would not be a walk in the park.

“I think for now, my vision is to take everything step-by-step because I don’t want to jump quickly,” said the decorated tactician.

“The Paris Games, my goal is to first enter, then once we get in, we’ll do it step-by-step and then our goal is to win a medal.” —Bea Micaller/JMB, GMA News