SEN. Miguel Zubiri, president of the Philippine Eskrima Kali Arnis Foundation, is confident the country’s arnis exponents will assert their superiority and strike a goldmine in the 30th Southeast Asian Games just slightly over a week away.
“I’m looking at least 10 and 11 gold medals from our athletes plus the overall title,” Zubiri said last Tuesday night at the send-off dinner he hosted for the 20-man national squad that will compete in the ethnic combat sport that was last held in the regional meet in the 2005 Games.
A total of 20 gold medals – 16 in sparring and four in anyo (forms) – are up for grabs in the discipline opening on Dec. 1 at the Angeles University Foundation gym in Angeles City, Pampanga also featuring entries from Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar.
Zubiri, a former two-time world arnis champion (1989-90), said eight gold medals will be at stake in the first day of action, another eight the following day before the competition winds up with four anyo events, two each in the men’s and women’s divisions, on the third and final day.
“Vietnam should be our biggest rival and they have been competing in arnis since the 1991 SEA Games,” Zubiri said, adding the Vietnamese even hired a reputable Filipino coach to train them for the games.