Final swing for Olympic hopefuls

Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) - May 14, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino athletes are bound for various destinations in the next few days in the homestretch of the chase for Olympic berths.

The taekwondo team of 2016 Rio Games veteran Kirstie Alora and 2019 SEA Games medalists Pauline Lopez, Kurt Barbosa and Arven Alcantara fly out today to compete in the Asian qualifier set May 21 to 22 in Amman, Jordan.

National surfers Nilbie Blancada, John Mark Tokong, Edito Alcala, Jay-R Esquivel, Daisy Valdez and Vea Estrellado, for their part, are leaving on Monday for the World Surf Games slated May 29 to June 6 in El Salvador.

Asiad skateboarding gold medal winner Margie Didal is already in the US to vie in the Iowa Dew Tour set May 17-23 in Des Moines before departing for the World Championship scheduled May 30 to June 6 in Rome where the top finisher earns outright Tokyo slot.

BMX rider Patrick Coo is all set to participate in the World Cup on May 26-30 in Bogota, Colombia as well as cagers Mo Tautuaa, CJ Perez, Alvin Pasaol and Joshua Munzon, who are aiming to defy overwhelming odds in the FIBA 3x3 Qualifiers set May 26-30 in Graz, Austria.

The Kiyomi Watanabe-led judokas are competing in the World Championships from June 6 to 13 in Budapest, Hungary while the eagle-eyed national archers point their arrows in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament from June 18 to 21 in Paris, France after their training camp in Chinese Taipei.

The beach volley team spearheaded by Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons will enter several training camps starting in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte and Subic in preparation for the Asian Volleyball Confederation Continental Cup on June 20-27 in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand where a lone Olympic seat is at stake.

“Our campaign for more Olympic slots is in the final swing and we wish our athletes a lot of luck,” said acting Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) executive director Guillermo Iroy, Jr.

The country has a total of eight qualifiers to date including rower Cris Nievarez, the recent addition to the list.

The other Olympic entrants are pole-vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Caloy Yulo, boxers Eumir Marcial, Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam and 2016 Rio Games weightlifting silver medal winner Hidilyn Diaz.

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