by RONALYN BANAKEN
Hongitan edged out whom Rappler dubbed as the “real-life Katniss Everdeen”
Raking in a huge victory, the University of Baguio (UB) seized the championship medal at the 2014 Philippine National Outdoor Archery Championships – one of the country’s biggest archery tournaments – held in Dumaguete City on Oct. 24-26.
UB’s Kareel Meer Hongitan, a sophomore BS Hotel and Restaurant Management student, secured the top spot after a rigid finals where she battled against some of the nation’s prime archers. Hongitan defeated La Salle’s Bianca Gotuaco, who competed at the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics in China last August and at the US National Target Championships in July. Hongitan also edged out Rachelle Ann Cruz of Ateneo de Manila.
Hongitan, 17, qualified for the competition with 578 arrows during the initial screening – 26 arrows short of Gotuaco’s 604.
But Hongitan slugged through the intense match to finish on top, besting Gotuaco.
“Kareel has a massive potential. We knew she had. The win was overwhelming, and we are thankful that UB has supported her fight,” Alan Elegado, Hongitan’s coach, said.
Elegado added it was “surreal” to have beaten someone as accomplished as Gotuaco. The La Sallian – described as the “real-life Katniss Everdeen by the online news outlet Rappler – is a gold medalist in the Palarong Pambansa and Batang Pinoy (Philippine Youth Games).
Hongitan – along with Gotuaco (who landed as silver medalist) and Cruz (bronze medalist) – will represent the country in the ASEAN International Outdoor Archery Championship in April in China.
The trio will comprise the Philippine team for the archery event.
Cynah Mari Hidalgo (UB School of Information Technology) and Donnalenn Villamor (UB School of Teacher Education) also joined the initial elimination.
The tournament was an open category.
The UB team is trained by the University’s Athletics Office headed by its director Eduardo Laureano.
Hongitan shooting an arrow