By Kristine Ann M. Fernandez
A Sillimanian finished as the only Filipino and Southeast Asian in the top 10 at the Indoor Archery World Cup (IAWC ) in Singapore last Dec. 8-10, 2013.
Crizabelle Merto, a sophomore computer engineering student, ranked 10th out of 36 in the final round of the women’s recurve category.
Although this is Crizabelle’s second time to join the competition, she said she wanted to “prove something” this year after she was denied a position to qualify for the Olympic Games last year.
According to team coach and Crizabelle’s father Crisaldo Merto, Crizabelle broke a Southeast Asian record and bagged a gold medal in the 2012 Philippine National Games.
However, for unclear reasons, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) sent instead the second, third and fourth placers to the last qualifying round for the Olympics.
Crisaldo added that politics may have played a part in the selection process saying the PSC “seems to prioritize players from the National Capital Region.”
“We still fought [in the IAWC ] even if we were tight with funds. We had to support players on our own,” he said.
Crisaldo also said he understands that archery is not a priority of the university and that he will make do with what is available for the team although it is “not enough.”
In the youth division, 11-yearold Crisha Merto won gold while 12-year-old Ma. Fermini Gleam Bajado won silver in the women’s recurve 10-12 years old category.
Only Crisha and Fermini raked medals for the Philippine team placing the country fourth overall after Singapore, Hong Kong and India.
Crisha, who has been playing archery since she was four and joining competitions since she was six, said she looks up to her sister, Crizabelle.
“I wanted to win because I want to be my sister’s teammate in the future,” she said.
Eight-year-old Matt Charrid Bajado, the youngest contestant to ever join the competition, ranked seventh in the qualifying round of the men’s recurve 10-12 years old category.
Freshman medical technology student, Danaleau Baldono, ranked 10th in the Olympic round of the women’s recurve 14- 16 years old category.
The team is now preparing for an invitational game as part of Cebu’s Sinulog festival this month and the Philippine National Games n May.