Samantha Catantan vowed to be better and stronger the next time she joins an Olympic qualifier.
Making it to the 2024 Paris Olympics will be the 19-year-old Catantan’s next biggest goal as she promised to prepare very early for this.
“Siyempre, malungkot ako kinapos po ako. Pero mas na-motivate pa ako na mag-training pang lalo,” said Catantan in an interview with the Manila Standard.
Catantan, who is one of 10 Penn State fencers given All-American honors after the US NCAA Division 1 championships last month, talked about her experiences a few hours after she made it to the women’s foil semifinals of the 2021 Asia-Oceania Olympic qualifiers in fencing.
After looking at how she fared during the three-day meet in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Catantan said she now has enough time to get ready in pursuit of her Olympic dream in the next three years.
“Nakita ko na kahit papaano, nag-improve ang game. Sabi ni coach Amat (Canlas), naging mas OK ang laro,” said Catantan over new goals after her talks with national coach Amatov Canlas.
Catantan had a shot at a slot to the Tokyo Olympics. But this ended for Catantan when her top-seeded foe 27-year old Yana Alborova of Uzbekistan took the lead early and prevailed, 15-10, to advance to the championship round.
The match was close and Alborova was slightly ahead, 5-3. From there, Alborova picked up the pace and eventually led by a big margin.
“Ipu-push through ko ito. Mag-start na po ako ngayon pa lang para sa goal ko for the Paris Olympics,” added Catantan, who spent hours reflecting on her performance on Sunday when she returned to her hotel room.
Catantan, after getting her bronze medal during the brief awarding ceremony, spent part of her evening studying for online assignments that her teachers at Penn State University gave her while she was still in Tashkent.
Because of health and safety protocols put by organizers to prevent the spread of COVID-19 Uzbekistan, Catantan was only able to watch the rest of the national squad’s campaign to earn Olympic berths through livestreamed video feeds.