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Through self-doubts, UST fencers conquer Singapore tilt

3 min readThe 17-year-old Daradar swept the competition to rule the Women’s Foil category, while Chacon and Maruquez each took one bronze in the Women’s Sabre and Men’s Sabre categories, respectively.
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Published about 1 year ago on June 20, 2023

by Rob Andrew Dongiapon

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Photo courtesy of Vicious Braniac Fencing

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Hardly anything can vindicate what University of Santo Tomas fencer Patricia Daradar felt after the UAAP Season 85. But a gold medal on an international stage certainly did.

Thomasians Daradar, alongside Chloe Chacon and Kurt Maruquez, captured glory in the 2023 Asian Varsity Fencing Championship in Singapore after bagging one gold and two bronze medals last June 9 to 13.

The 17-year-old Daradar swept the competition to rule the Women’s Foil category and secure the lone gold the Espana-based team snagged.

“During the UAAP, I was not that satisfied with my game since I felt that I am not that completely prepared. I used this as a motivation to help myself to become stronger during the game and push myself to overcome this setback,” Daradar told TomasinoWeb.

While she made it seem like a breeze, Daradar, who is an incoming Grade 12 student, the unfamiliarity to her opponents and the mental battle that has been part and parcel of the sport made her question her aptitude throughout the tournament participated by different institutions across Asia.

“Before the start of competition, I overthink and felt nervous on how would I perform, since I didn’t know how Singaporean fencers play,” she said.

Despite the doubts, she dominated the preliminaries, finishing as the second seed after a 6-0 slate before annihilating Singapore Polytechnic, 15-2 in the round of 16 to qualify in the quarterfinals where she routed a fencer from the National University of Singapore, 15-6.

Daradar faced his toughest challenge in the semi-finals, where her left-handed rival — an undesired matchup for her — imposed a formidable challenge to her bid, but the Filipina still squeaked a 15-13 triumph to move on to the gold medal round.

Up against the top-seed in the final matchup, Daradar proved to be too much to handle as she capped off the tournament on an astounding 15-11 win to get gold.

The victory came a little over three months after the UAAP fencing events where Daradar finished with three bronzes and one gold.

“After winning the gold medal, I felt relieved and genuinely happy, since I was able to reclaim myself after a not-so-good performance last UAAP Season 85. I felt that my hard work was really worth it,” Daradar said.

Meanwhile, Chacon and Maruquez each took one bronze in the Women’s Sabre and Men’s Sabre categories, respectively.

After a 5-1 win-loss card and two commanding wins in the direct eliminations, Maruquez saw his fate end at the hands of Singapore Management University via a score of 9-15.

“It was a very unusual tournament especially for someone like me who is not used to competing outside the country. It was nerve wracking, but at the same time exciting, “ Maruquez told TomasinoWeb.

“The playstyle of foreign players are very unusual and unpredictable compared to Filipino fencers,” he added.

On the other hand, Chacon had the same fate as she also yielded to an SMU fencer in the semi-finals, 11-15.

Entering the knockout stages as the fifth seed, Chacon completed a lopsided beating of the fourth seed fencer from Nanyang Technological University, 15-4, before falling short in the semis despite a spirited rally down the final stretch, trimming a once seven-point cushion to just three, but it went to naught.

“I am the type of person who sets an expectation and goals for herself and honestly, before the competition started, the only expectation I gave myself was to have a nice performance in the game,” Chacon said. “The medal wasn’t the main bacon I planned to take home, it was more of the lesson and the self-validation that I can take with me.”

“By focusing on the game and not just the medal, the tournament became more of a process, rather than a challenge,” she added.

Training continues for the three after their Singapore conquest as the next UAAP season remains a few months ahead, while also accomplishing their student duties in the university.

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Rob Andrew Dongiapon

Sports Editor

Rob Andrew L. Dongiapon is a Sports Editor at TomasinoWeb. He is an avid fan of sports and competition. He also finds great entertainment in combat sports, He continues to strive to make this love of sports pay his future bills. Aside from studying journalism, he writes for Thunderous Intentions where he displays his unhealthy love of the Oklahoma City Thunder. When he is not writing, he probably is watching YouTube videos of how to take over the world.

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