Golfers, tankers, judoka make Philippines team

Joey Villar - The Philippine Star
Golfers, tankers, judoka make Philippines team
Bianca Pagdanganan and Dottie Ardina
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Twenty and counting.

The Philippine delegation to the Paris Olympics ballooned to 20 after golfers Bianca Pagdanganan and Dottie Ardina made the top 60 cut, swimmers Kayla Sanchez and Jarod Hatch claimed spots via universality places and judoka Kiyomi Watanabe earned a continental quota.

A few more may make the Paris cut, with hurdlers John Cabang Tolentino and Lauren Hoffman among the contenders.

The five additions joined a team composed of pole-vaulter EJ Obiena, boxers Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam, Eumir Marcial, Aira Villegas and Hergie Bacyadan, gymnasts Carlos Yulo, Aleah Finnegan, Levi Ruivivar and Emma Malabuyo, weightlifters Vanessa Sarno, Elreen Ando and John Ceniza, rower Joanie Delgaco and fencer Sam Catantan.

The count surpassed the 19 Filipino athletes that competed in the 2021 Tokyo Games and came through with the first Olympic gold medal courtesy of weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz atop the two silvers and a bronze by Petecio, Paalam and Marcial.

Pagdanganan was 35th while Ardina 55th in the International Golf Federation ranking, enough to be part of the 60 golfers seeing action in the French capital.

It’s the third straight Olympics that Philippine golf will be represented in the Games.

Sanchez and Hatch were nominated by the Philippine Aquatics, Inc. as recipients of the universality places from World Aquatics and would compete in the women’s 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly.

If the country’s request for additional events gets the nod from WA, Sanchez would also vie in the 100m backstroke and Hatch in the 100m freestyle.

Judoka Watanabe, for her part, will be in her second consecutive Olympics.

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