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Team Phl welcomes Ardina’s Olympic bid
Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) - June 11, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - While there’s a chance for golfer Dottie Ardina to make it to the Rio Olympics via the backdoor, it’s too late or almost impossible for other Filipino athletes to earn a universality place or wild card slots to the forthcoming Summer Games.

Jose Romasanta, Philippine Olympic Committee vice president and chef-de-mission to the Rio Olympics on Aug. 5-21, yesterday welcomed the possibility of Ardina, a 22-year-old who’s been campaigning in the Symetra Tour the past three years, of making it.

The Symetra Tour is the official developmental tour of the LPGA Tour, and because of four Top 10 finishes last year, Ardina’s name is high in the list of possible replacements for any of the top 60 golfers who have qualified to this year’s Olympics.

Romasanta said the POC has received a directive from the International Olympic Committee for Ardina to fill up the accreditation form to Rio.

“Dottie has a very good chance,” said Romasanta, who explained that each of the 60 golfers that have qualified to Rio has his own set of alternates, from the No. 1 ranked player to the last.

Ardina, the POC official said, is high in the list of reserve players.

Romasanta said the IOC is just making sure that if there are withdrawals very close to the Olympics, it still has a complete field in women’s golf.

“In the event some of these women players pull out because of the Zika virus, if there are withdrawals, they (Rio organizers) are ready with a lineup,” Romasanta told The STAR yesterday.

So far, there are five Filipino athletes who have been confirmed by their respective International Federations (IFs) and the IOC for the Rio Games. They are taekwondo’s Kirstie Elaine Alora, table tennis’ Ian Lariba, boxing’s Rogen Ladon and Charly Suarez, and track and field’s Marestella Torres.

The fate of Torres, a veteran of the last two Olympics, however, remains in the air because of marathoner Mary Joy Tabal, who met the Olympic qualifying time in a recent event in Ottawa. If Tabal is recognized by the International Association of Athletics Federations as a qualifier, then she takes the place of Torres, who was granted a universality place.

A country is given wild cards per gender in athletics and swimming in case the country failed to qualify any athlete.  

Three more boxers are seeking slots to Rio in another qualifying event in Azerbaijan this month, while two of four Filipino swimmers who have met the B-standard, including Jasmine Alkhadi and Jessie Lacuna, are just waiting for their formal invites from their IF and the IOC.

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