Athletics chief Philip Ella Juico
Unfazed by virus scare, Filipino athletes pursue Tokyo Olympic dream
Joey Villar ( - February 24, 2020 - 1:12pm

MANILA, Philippines – Nothing, not even the COVID-2019 scare, could stop Filipino athletes from their hot pursuit of a Tokyo Olympics slot this July.

Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association president Philip Ella Juico said hurdler Eric Cray, sprinter Kristina Knott, thrower William Morrison, pole vaulter Natalie Uy and marathoner Christine Hallasgos are all focused on joining EJ Obiena to Tokyo.

“We have athletes who are in training really hard and in relentless pursuit of slots to Tokyo despite the virus threat,” said Juico.

Cray, the three-time Southeast Asian Games 400m hurdles gold medalist, can qualify if he meets the qualifying standard time of 48.80 seconds or if he makes it to the top 50 by the end of the qualifying date on June 29.

Morrison, for his part, heaved a 20.21m in shot put in Indiana last month to set a new national record to get closer to making the Olympic cut while Knott is currently training in the United States.

Uy, the Southeast Asian Games gold medal winner who also ruled the 2019 Asian Championships in Doha, Qatar, likewise posted a new Philippine record of 4.25m and in the US also preparing to qualify to the quadrennial meet.

Hallasgos, who took the SEAG gold while topping another race early this month, is hoping against hope she too could breach the tough standard time in marathon.

As for Obiena, Juico said he has joined up with Ukrainian coach Vitali Petrov and is set to compete in Chula Vista, California and Europe after the Asian and World Indoor Championships were both called off due to the health menace.

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