UC Wushu Team: contenders on the global stage
June 03, 2012
The excitement of a one-two golden punch delivered in the waning hours of the Wushu event at the 26th Southeast Asian Games last November 2011 in Indonesia is now part of the annals of Philippine sports history.
The heroes who brought home the gold: Eduard Folayang and Mark Eddiva. Both competed in the 70 and 65 kg weight classes respectively in Wushu's sparring category, Sanshou. They outclassed their opponents, Udon Khanxay of Laos and Youne Victorio Senduk of Indonesia.
Folayang and Eddiva were lavished accolades by the sports media describing them as "brave Igorot cousins." In the process, their stories drew a commonality: both studied at the University of the Cordilleras (UC).
Other medalists in the Philippine Wushu team that competed in the 26th SEA Games were also UC students: Benjie Rivera of the UC College of Teacher Education (UC-CTE) earned silver in the 56 kg Sanshou event while Daniel Parantac also of UC-CTE is silver medalist in the Wushu Taolu (form) category. Another Taolu silver medalist, Engelbert Addongan, is from the UC College of Criminal Justice Education (UC-CCJE).
UC bronze medalists in the 26th SEA Games were BSIT student Kariza Chan who competed in the Taolu category while Rhea May Rifani of UC-CTE earned bronze in the 48 kg Sanshou.
Pursuing an education degree at UC, Eddiva said while their group went through intensive preparations for the 26th SEA Games including a five-month pre-fight conditioning in China, his continuing training with the UC Wushu Team under coach Marques "Mark" Sangiao provides him with a firm foundation in the sport.
Sangiao, who led the Wushu team that provided Baguio's medal harvest in the 3rd Wushu World Cup in Xian, China in 2006, is the founder of Team Lakay, a Cordillera-based mixed martial arts (MMA) group that competes in the prestigious Universal Reality Combat Championship (URCC). Eddiva and Folayang are members of Team Lakay.
Roldan Sangcha-an, an upcoming MMA fighter and member of the UC Wushu team said "Coaches Mark (Sangiao) and Eduard (Folayang) are my inspirations. They are true warriors and very down-to-earth human beings. Even though they are famous in the sport, you will never see them do stupid things in or out of the ring."
Sangcha-an added, "They (Sangiao and Folayang) help fighters who are just starting to make names in the sport. I'm thankful to be one of those lucky fighters."
Eddiva said Wushu taught him discipline and independence. "I pursue my studies through an athletic scholarship from UC, while the stipend provided by the Philippine Wushu Federation and the Philippine Sports Commission support my everyday needs," he said.
Eddiva admits he was drawn to Wushu after high school due to the versatility of the sport. "You train for the skill and the power but at the same time there is grace and fluidity of movement," he said.
The skill and power aspect of the sport - a combination of martial arts and wrestling - enabled Eddiva to dominate his Indonesian opponent in the Wushu finals of the 26th SEA Games.
While he is again training for the Asian Wushu Championship this August, Eddiva hopes that Wushu would one day be an Olympic sport. He explains that the hesitation stems from the apprehension that Asia will dominate the sport once it becomes an Olympic event.