Top Filipino Olympic track bets to train in US
The top Filipino Olympic aspirants in track and field will train in the United States.
Renato Unso, secretary general of the Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association, bared that marathoner Mary Joy Tabal, 400m specialist Edgardo Alejan and former Asian long jump champion Marestella Torres would join Southeast Asian Games century dash champions Eric Cray and Kayla Richardson in the US.
Unso also hinted that pole vaulter EJ Obiena would follow them after his ongoing training in Fornia, Italy where he’s aiming to clear the Olympic standard of 5.40 meters.
“We’re in the process of negotiating and looking for the perfect venue in the US to set up camp,” said Unso, a former 400m hurdles SEAG champion and record-holder.
Meanwhile, Unso said a private sponsor has expressed interest to financially support Alejan in the 800m, not in the 400m where he copped the bronze medal in Singapore.
“The sponsor said Alejan’s 47-second clocking will no longer medal in the next SEA Games, so he suggested that Edgardo train in the 800m instead,” said Unso.
Torres, who holds the existing SEAG mark in women’s long jump but could only place third in Singapore, already has a backer in American businessman Jim Lafferty.
Unso said the Olympic campaign of Tabal, silver medalist in the SEA Games, would be first offered to Milo, the organizer of the longest-running marathon in the country where Tabal is the defending champion.
He added these tracksters would seek Olympic qualifying slots in the world championship on Aug. 22-30 in Beijing and the Thailand Open on Sept. 6-9 aside from several other qualifiers lined up prior to the Rio Games on Aug. 5-21 next year.
“They will train for three months or more in the US and hopefully we could begin within month,” said Unso.
Cray, ranked seventh in the world, qualified to the Olympics after clocking 49.12 seconds in the 400m hurdles during the Cayman Invite three months ago. Richardson, 17, won the women’s 100m on her SEA Games debut.