Filipino athletes await IOC Rio invites
Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) - January 7, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – While it may be too early for Filipino athletes to seek special invites to this year’s Rio Olympics, it won’t hurt if their national sports associations (NSAs) start knocking on the doors of their respective international federations (IFs).

Philippine Olympic Committee vice president Jose Romasanta yesterday reminded the NSAs with athletes who have the potential to compete in the Olympics in August to make sure they are not left behind.

The International Olympic Committee will sooner or later begin inviting athletes from different sports and different countries to the Olympics despite their failure to get past the tough qualifying events.

Romasanta said Filipino athletes, who are finding it very difficult to qualify, may end up competing in Rio through the invitation of the IOC. So far, only one Filipino athlete, Eric Cray of track and field, has qualified for this year’s Summer Games.

Others have tried but have not succeeded. There are more qualifying events scheduled until July or the month before the Olympics. If they don’t succeed, then the only way for them to get to Rio is through invites from the IOC.

Romasanta then reminded the NSAs to continue reminding their respective IFs that they have athletes worth considering.

“In these qualifying events, you compete against the best in the world. You need to thread the needle to make it. But then again, the IOC knows that there has to be more athletes represented in the Olympics, not only those who passed the qualifying events,” he said.

“The organizing committee said it’s not yet time to apply for the invitational places but since there are 206 countries in the IOC, if we don’t insist and show our interest, we might be forgotten and left behind,” said Romasanta.

“Baka makalimutan tayo,” he said.

Romasanta asked the NSAs to keep updating their international federations regarding the status of their athletes by the time the decision on whom to invite to Rio is made in June.

“Ang amin lang paalala sa NSAs, hindi naman masama at walang namang mawawala kung kukulitin sila na, ‘Eto may atleta kami na for consideration’ (Our reminder to the NSAs is that they will lose nothing by reminding their IFs that we have athletes for consideration),” he said.

“All of these information given to the IFs help the tripartite commission decide whom to invite. Sa dami ng athletes, libo yan (There are thousands of athletes). And it will be practical for the IFs to be reminded that we have athletes worth considering for qualifying,” Romasanta added.

The POC is just making sure that Pinoy athletes are not left without a chair when the music stops.

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