Skeet shooter Brian Rosario has earned a slot in the 2012 London Olympics as a wild-card bet, edging three other top Filipino shooters vying for a berth in the world’s biggest sporting stage from July 27 to Aug. 12.
Rosario, a 29-year-old national record holder, has been picked by the International Shooting Sport Federation to represent the Philippines following a sensational string of international performances in the last four years.
“He’s at his peak,” said Philippine National Shooting Association (PNSA) president Mikee Romero. “He has been shooting at a world-class level. It has been a long time since we had a shooter of this caliber.”
Rosario set a new Philippine record of 120 in the men’s skeet event of the 2011 World Cup Shotgun Championship in October last year in Belgrade.
The score was just a point shy of the gold-medal score of American Vincent Hancock in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
“His scores spoke for him very loudly, so there was no doubt,” said PNSA secretary general Col. Danilo Gamboa. “This is our chance to have a gold medal in the Olympics.”
“For many years, he has been undefeated,” PNSA vice president Gay Corral added during the PSA Forum Tuesday at Shakey’s UN Avenue in Manila.
“He’s ranked No. 24 in the whole of Asia. He’s our best ranked shooter in all events.”
The ISSF chose Rosario over Hagen Alexander Topacio (trap), veteran Tac Padilla (25m rapid fire pistol) and 16-year-old ace Jayson Valdez (10m air rifle).
“It’s an honor to be chosen to represent the Philippines,” said Rosario, who started competing at age 14. “I’ll do my best to win a gold. I’m focused on training and building my confidence.”
“Brian has hit the minimum qualifying score for the Olympics six times since 2008,” said Romero, who personally pledged P100,000 for Rosario’s training.
“He has already scored a 122 [in a local tournament]. So statistically, he has a chance. He just has to repeat the same performance in the Olympics.”
In a statement, chef de mission Manny Lopez welcomed the entry of Rosario.
“We are very proud to have Brian in our team,” said Lopez. “We know he has the talent to compete against the best of them as he shoots for that very elusive Olympic medal. With the right training and motivation, he will hit his target.”