Weary after air travel, young PH athletes’ spirits up as they hunt for golds
BUENOS AIRES—Two exhausting days of air travel from Manila to this enchanting Argentinian capital hardly dampened the mood of Filipino athletes yearning to pull off a rare feat in the 2018 Youth Olympic Games.
Table tennis ace Jann Mari Nayre, archer Nicole Marie Tagle, golfer Carl Jano Corpus and fencer Lawrence Everett Tan arrived dog-tired at the Athletes Village here but immediately buckled down to work the following day.
They are the core of the seven-athlete Philippine delegation that intends to better the one-gold haul by the country in the previous edition of the meet, where archer Gab Moreno triumphed in the biggest sports show featuring the best 18-under athletes in the world.
“We got here after over two days. But everything is okay. The athletes are in high spirits,” said Pauline Louise Lopez, a multiawarded Filipino taekwondo jin named YOG ambassador by the International Olympic Committee.
Swimmer Nicole Justine Marie Oliva and kiteboarder Christian Tio have also checked in at the village, but both came straight from the United States.
The contingent that includes six coaches and headed by chef de mission and Philippine Canoe Kayak Dragonboat president Jonne Go is expecting Asian Games double-gold medal golfer Yuka Saso to arrive on Friday (Saturday in Manila). Also arriving on the same day are Go and Philippine Olympic Committee secretary general Patrick Gregorio.
Saso has been designated flag-bearer during the opening ceremony on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) at iconic Obelisco de Buenos Aires where 3,997 athletes from 206 countries are expected to show up.
“They (athletes) look good and are pretty relaxed,” said Lopez, a bronze medalist in the Asian Games. “They are getting the groove of things here, [before things] get intense as the competition begins.”
Nayre, a national table tennis champion, will open the Filipinos’ bid for a podium performance on Oct. 7.
The competition schedules of the other Filipinos have yet to be announced.
Saso is entered in the women’s individual stroke play, Tagle will play in the women’s recurve individual, Tio will see action in kiteboarding TRR men and Corpus will compete in the men’s individual stroke play.
Oliva will vie for medals in women’s 100-meter freestyle, 100m backstroke, 100m butterfly, 200m free, 200m back, 400m free, 50m free and 800m free.