POC targets 25 for Paris

Joaquin Henson - The Philippine Star
POC targets 25 for Paris
Abraham Tolentino.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — POC president Mayor Bambol Tolentino said yesterday he expects a delegation of about 25 athletes to represent the country at the coming Paris Olympics with more qualifiers from boxing, golf, judo, cycling, swimming, athletics, skateboarding, gymnastics and weightlifting tipped to bolster the current pool of 12.

Tolentino said there will be at least two swimmers joining either through direct qualification or universality. In athletics, the contenders are John Cabang Tolentino, Robyn Brown, Lauren Hoffman, Eric Cray, Janry Ubas and Kristina Knott.  The 4x400 men’s relay team has a shot with Hussein Lorana combining with Mico del Prado, Frederick Ramirez and Joyme Sequita as injured Umajesty Williams’ replacement. Golf has a sure bet in Bianca Pagdanganan but Dottie Ardina and Miguel Tabuena could still make the cut as first or second reserves with the qualification period ending in the third week of June.

Four boxers will try their luck in the final qualifiers in Bangkok on May 23-June 3. They are Rogen Ladon at 51kg, Carlo Paalam at 57kg, Criztian Pitt Laurente at 63.5kg and Hergie Bacyadan at 75kg. Weightlifter Rosegie Ramos is awaiting confirmation if she’ll make it at 49kg as the last qualifier and first reserve. Gymnast Emma Malabuyo is also in the bubble and according to Gymnastics Association of the Philippines president Cynthia Carrion, has a 50-50 chance.

Tolentino said if 25 athletes make the trip, it will be the largest delegation in recent years. The Philippines’ biggest contingent was 53 in the 1972 Munich Olympics where the basketball team played. Since 1996, the biggest delegation was 20 in the 2000 Sydney Games so if the target of 25 is met, it will be the largest contingent in nearly 30 years.

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