Olympic qualifying tougher than usual

Joaquin M. Henson - The Philippine Star
Olympic qualifying tougher than usual
Abraham Tolentino.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Only four athletes are so far guaranteed to compete for the Philippines in the Paris Olympics this year but POC president Bambol Tolentino is hopeful more will qualify despite the challenges alog the way.

In the previous Olympics, there were 19 who wore the national colors. Nine men and 10 women participated in 11 sports with boxing bringing in four athletes, golf three and athletics, swimming and weightlifting two each. Gymnastics, judo, rowing, shooting, skateboarding and taekwondo had one apiece. The Philippines delivered one gold, two silvers and a bronze in a historic performance.

Tolentino said it won’t be easy to match the size of the delegation in Tokyo. “It’s very hard to surpass unless there’s a team,” he said. “It was easier during the pandemic but after, there were lots of surprises from those who just trained and trained with no exposure like North Korea, China and the Americas. Masikip even qualifying.”

Tolentino’s pinning his hopes on more qualifiers from several sports. “Weightlifting, more in athletics, two in aquatics by universality, more than one in boxing, shooting,” he said. “I’m pushing golf, taekwondo, skateboarding, tennis, rowing. I’m also pushing hard for cycling.”

The four sure Paris Olympians are World No. 2 pole vaulter EJ Obiena, boxer Eumir Marcial and gymnasts Carlos Yulo and Aleah Finnegan. Gymnastics Association of the Philippines president Cynthia Carrion said Fil-Am Levi Jung Ruivivar, 17, has a chance to make it. She was ready to compete for the Philippines at the Asian Games last year but organizers ruled her ineligible for a late entry.

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