Romero trims PNSA Olympic hopefuls to 4
MANILA, Philippines—National record holder Paul Brian Rosario leads four topnotch Filipino shooters vying for a slot in the 2012 London Olympics.
Rosario, who set a new Philippine skeet record in the 2011 World Cup, made the final cut along with the bemedalled Tac Padilla (25m rapid fire pistol), Hagen Alexander Topacio (trap) and 16-year-old standout Jayson Valdez (10m air rifle).
The Philippine National Shooting Association (PNSA) made the announcement yesterday, a week after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Sport Shooting Federation (ISSF) awarded the country a wild card slot in the sport.
“We submitted their names and it’s up to the IOC to choose,” PNSA president Mikee Romero said in the PSA Forum Tuesday at Shakey’s UN Avenue. “Within the next 30 days we’ll know. They have to train really hard because any of them can be chosen by the IOC. They have to be ready because this is a once in a lifetime chance.”
Seven Filipino shooters who have attained the Minimum Qualification Score (MQS) in their respective events are eligible, but the PNSA trimmed the candidates to the top four.
“We never know, the first Olympic gold might just come from us,” said Romero, who was joined by secretary-general Col. Danilo Gamboa and executive director Larry Paredes in the public forum.
Romero’s confidence stems from Rosario’s sensational outing in the the men’s skeet of the 2011 World Cup Shotgun Championship last October in Belgrade, Serbia.
The 29-year-old Rosario set a new Philippine record of 120 in the tournament, just a point removed from the gold-clinching score of American Vincent Hancock in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Gamboa, 73, also a former national team member, said the country’s best finish in shooting came in the 1936 Berlin Olympics where Col. Martin Hizon finished fifth.
Veteran shooters Jethro Dionisio (2004) and Eric Ang (2008 Beijing) represented the Philippines in the recent Olympic editions.
“We are grateful to the ISSF for giving the Philippines a chance to participate in the sport with the most number of member nations,” PH chef de mission Manny Lopez said in a statement.