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Sam Catantan makes return from ACL scare in US NCAA event, eyes Paris Olympics spot

Sam Catantan's redemption tour begins with the US NCAA's "March Madness' in fencing. From Catantan's Facebook page
By Dugout Philippines

MANILA--Samantha Catantan heaved a big sigh of relief, returning to action after months of recuperating from an ACL injury she suffered in 2023. 

The Filipino fencer, representing Penn State University, advanced to the championship stages of the U.S. NCAA Fencing championships that are set to take place from March 21-24 in Columbus, Ohio. 

“Coming back to fence after 9 months of recovery from ACL surgery was such an experience. I’m grateful and excited to return to the sport I love and once again fence for the Philippines,” the fourth-year student-athlete said. 

Despite impressively finishing second overall at the Mid-Atlantic/South Regionals last March 9 at Drew University in New Jersey, Catantan admits that she is still not yet completely back to form. 

“I’m not quite at 100% yet, but I'm getting closer every day. Currently, I still need to wear a functional brace for additional support while fencing. It's a temporary measure until I fully regain confidence in my movement,” she stated. 

Regardless, Samantha admits that she is happy at her recent performance although she is aware that she could have done better. 

“I'm very happy with my performance, especially considering this was my international comeback tournament. It may not have been the best result but I'm proud of the progress I've made and the level of fencing I achieved in the competition,” she added. 

Heading into her next NCAA meet, Catantan shares that she is preparing herself for the next meet, with a combination of physical and mental conditioning to ensure that she will be at her best. 

Catantan also added that after the NCAA championships, she will be making up for lost time. She plans to compete in Dubai at the Zonal Olympic Qualifying event for Paris 2024, an event she is excitedly looking forward to.

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