ONE strawweight contender Rene “The Challenger” Catalan will have another opportunity to make his country proud as he is set to represent the Philippines in the upcoming SEA GAMES this coming November.
The 40-year-old Iloilo City native who captured gold in wushu the last time he competed in the biennial regional multi-sporting event back in 2005, will now try his best to capture another gold but this time in the sport of sambo.
“It’s been 14 years, I am just so happy to be given the opportunity to represent the Philippines once again,” said Catalan who also won a gold medal in the 2006 Asian Games in the sport of wushu.
“Ever since I was a kid, my main goal has always been to give honor to my country. Now I have another opportunity to bring home a gold medal to the Philippines.”
One of the most decorated athletes in the country, Catalan has his eyes all set to the prestigious SEA GAMES gold before he officially takes a bigger role as a coach of the younger generation of athletes of the sport.
“I saw that I have a good chance of bringing home a medal so I decided to compete for one more time,” shared Catalan.
“Next year, I’ll be focusing on coaching the national team in Sambo Combat, that’s why I’ll definitely give my all to guarantee a gold medal in my last stint in the SEA Games.”
Despite his age, the selection process of picking Catalan was a no brainer as he consistently brings recognition to the country.
On top of his six-straight impressive victories in The Home Of Martial Arts, the Filipino veteran is a multiple-time wushu world champion and also have two Asian Games gold and a SEA Games gold medals in his resume.
In his latest international sambo event, Catalan dominated his Asian counterparts to capture the gold at the first Southeast Asian Sambo Championships in Jakarta last April 2018.
“They saw my dedication in the sport and maybe that’s why they chose me to represent the country. Maybe my performance last year in Indonesia also played a factor in their decision,” shared Catalan.
For Catalan being picked to represent the country is always a chance of a lifetime that he won’t waste.
“Not everyone is given a chance to represent the country. That’s why I’m going to work double-time in training sessions so I can repay the trust that the country has given me.”