Marestella 6th Filipino to Rio | Inquirer Sports

Marestella 6th Filipino to Rio

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 12:04 AM May 03, 2016

MARESTELLA Torres AP FILE PHOTO

MARESTELLA Torres AP FILE PHOTO

FOR THE third straight time, veteran long jumper Marestella Torres-Sunang will compete against the world’s best in the Olympics.

Athletics chief Dr. Philip Ella Juico yesterday announced that Torres has been officially accepted as an Olympic entry by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games through the “principle of universality.”

In an e-mail to Juico, IAAF competition senior manager Carlo de Angeli said the athletics world body approved the inclusion of Torres-Sunang even though she has yet to meet the Olympic qualifying standard of 6.70 meters.

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The 35-year-old Torres holds the national record of 6.71m but managed just 6.60m—her best leap in two years—in the recent Ayala National Open at Philsports track oval in Pasig.

Juico said athletics’ universality rule, a fundamental doctrine of the Olympic movement, allows the participation of both genders from each country in the Games, especially when a country is represented either by only one gender or no athlete at all.

Because only Fil-American hurdler Eric Cray has qualified for the Olympics so far, the Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association nominated the inclusion of Torres-Sunang, a one-time Asian champion who also vied in the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics.

Juico said the participation of Torres-Sunang and Cray will be officially announced by the IAAF on July 12.

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Torres-Sunang joins Cray, boxers Charly Suarez and Rogen Ladon, taekwondo-jin Kirstie Elaine Alora and table tennis ace Ian Larriba in the Philippine team for the quadrennial Games.

Prospects are also bright for pole vaulter EJ Obiena to qualify for Rio de Janeiro. The 6-foot-2 Obiena has steadily improved his national record and cleared 5.55m—just 0.15m off the Olympic qualifying mark—in the recent Singapore Open.

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“I’d be delighted, and Philippine sports in general should be happy, if this historic feat is achieved—having three or more track and field athletes qualify for the Olympics,” said Juico.

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TAGS: 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, Marestella

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