Chiz appeals support to young Rio hopefuls
(The Philippine Star) - January 22, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – With the clock ticking away in most fronts of the country’s bid for slots in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero yesterday said government should go all out in supporting the youngest and brightest hopefuls who remain in the hunt for the elusive berths.

The Philippines faces the specter of sending the least number of qualifiers to the Summer Games as only Olongapo-born hurdler Eric Shauwn Cray has officially made Olympic grade for the quadrennial meet set to start Aug. 5.

Cray received his ticket to Brazil by clocking 49.12 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles in May last year, surpassing the qualifying standard of 49.40 seconds.

Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz is still to officially book her slot in the last leg of the Asian Championship in Uzbekistan in April. She earned her berth after she won three bronze medals in the International Weightlifting Federation World Championship in Houston last November.

Trap shooter Hagen Topacio should have earned another Olympic ticket for the Philippines, but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) did not recognize his points in the Asian Shooting Championship held in Kuwait after it withdrew its recognition of the tournament as an official Olympic qualifier following a political gaffe by the host country.

Kuwaiti organizers refused to grant a visa to an Israeli participant, prompting the IOC to nix recognition of the continental meet.

Despite having just two slots assured for the Philippines for now, however, the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) has asked sports officials to seek wildcard bets for their other hopefuls.

Olympic chief of mission Joey Romasanta, who is also the POC vice president, said athletes who have failed to qualify in the remaining Olympic qualifying tournaments can earn Rio tickets via a universality place or wildcard berths given by the IOC to athletes from countries under-represented in the Olympics.

ASIAN CHAMPIONSHIP ASIAN SHOOTING CHAMPIONSHIP ERIC SHAUWN CRAY HAGEN TOPACIO INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE INTERNATIONAL WEIGHTLIFTING FEDERATION WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP JANEIRO OLYMPICS JOEY ROMASANTA OLYMPIC PHILIPPINE OLYMPIC COMMITTEE SUMMER GAMES
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