Two more to hit 20

Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - June 13, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Archery, windsurfing and karate are in the wait list of sports that may provide at least one qualifier each to bring the Philippine delegation to 20 athletes in the Tokyo Olympics but at the moment, the cast of 17, including seven virtual shoo-ins awaiting confirmation, is in the record books as the largest contingent in nearly 20 years.

The Philippines has sent an average of 13.2 athletes in the last five Summer Games so 17 is beyond the norm. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the Philippines was represented by 20 athletes in nine sports. Right now, the official Tokyo lineup has four in boxing, two in weightlifting and one each in taekwondo, skateboarding, gymnastics, rowing and athletics. The seven virtual shoo-ins awaiting confirmation are Remedy Rule and Luke Gebbie of swimming, Kristina Knott of athletics, Kiyomi Watanabe of judo and Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan and Juvic Pagunsan of golf.

SEA Games gold medalist Yancy Kaibigan and Jewel Napa both claimed a silver at the Mussanah Open Olympic RS:X Windsurfing Qualifiers in Oman last April, failing to clinch a Tokyo ticket in their divisions. But there is hope that one may be given a wildcard or Tripartite Commission Invitation via the universality route to make it to the Olympics.

In archery, California-based Riley Silos will lead a six-strong squad in the final Olympic qualifiers in Paris on June 18-21. He’ll be joined by Jason Feliciano, Carson Hastie, Gabrielle Biduare, Pia Biduare and Phoebe Amistoso in trying to nail Tokyo slots. In karate, the competition is in progress at the Olympic qualifiers in Paris with world No. 8 Junna Tsukii, Joane Orbon, Jamie Lim, Jason Macaalay, Ivan Agustin and Sharief Afif in kumite and Joco Vasquez and Sarah Pangilinan in kata. Early results showed Pangilinan failing to advance from the first round, Tsukii bowing to Bulgaria’s Ivet Goranova, 2-1, in the Round of 32 and Macaalay losing to Azerbaijan’s Firdovsi Farzaliyev, 1-0, in the Round of 32. The third-seeded Tsukii may still book a ticket through the continental quota route because of her lofty world ranking or a wildcard.

Rower Cris Nievarez will be the first Filipino to enter the Olympic Village on July 17 as his competition in men’s single sculls begins on July 23. The other Filipino qualifiers will check in on July 19. Featherweight Nesthy Petecio will be the first Filipino boxer in action in the Round of 32 on July 24.

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