Close  
Southpaw

Petecio, Diaz still have to go through qualifiers

/ 05:10 AM October 18, 2019

EJ Obiena started it all. The 23-year old pole vaulter cleared 5.81 meters to capture the gold medal at a meet in Chiara, Italy, in early September, making him the first Filipino to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

By surpassing the Olympic qualifying standard by a hair’s breadth, the 6-foot-1 Obiena avoided qualifying based on world rankings—a risky route where hopefuls have to fight for positions before the Summer Games get underway.

ADVERTISEMENT

Obiena knows what’s ahead—much more training and competition bankrolled by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and individual and corporate sponsors to spring his way to the next level.

No doubt, however, that he supplied the inspiration to other athletes to excel and end our country’s quest since 1924 for a Summer Games gold under a practical push to fund individual sports rather than disciplines that cramp our game because of the competition’s height and might.

FEATURED STORIES

Following EJ’s lead, Carlos Yulo and lady boxer Nesthy Petecio shone on the world stage a month later. Yulo, 19, scored the more momentous victory, becoming the first Filipino world champion in gymnastics. By topping the floor exercise at the world championship in Stuttgart, Germany, late Saturday, the youngster became our second Olympic qualifier to date.

Barely 24 hours after Yulo’s triumph, Petecio ruled the featherweight division in the women’s world boxing championship in Ulan-Ude, Russia.

Their victories are a cause for celebration as the country prepares to host the 30th Southeast Asian Games later this year.

While Yulo, as a gymnastics world titlist, automatically booked a ticket to Tokyo, Petecio, 27, along with Rio Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz, 28, still have to qualify to make it to the greatest sports show on earth.

Petecio, by virtue of her gold in the women’s worlds, would have qualified for Tokyo outright. But the International Olympic Committee (IOC), now the overseer of Olympic boxing, decertified the worlds as a qualifying tournament for Tokyo.

That’s because they were organized by Aiba, amateur boxing’s troubled governing body that the IOC stripped of Olympic status recently.

Thus, Petecio and the elite boxers of the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines will have to box in the Olympic qualifiers for Asia/Oceania in China in February and France in May to earn a berth to the Tokyo Games.

ADVERTISEMENT

Weightlifter Diaz is in the same boat. Her two bronze medals in the recent world tournament in Thailand would have handed her a go-to-Tokyo card.

But things changed with a new ranking points system instituted by weightlifting’s governing body to avoid among others, doping in the sport.

It’s good Diaz now ranks third of the top eight lifters in her weight class. With the backing of the PSC, she has a huge chance to excel at the World Cup in Rome in January and the Asian championship in Kazakhstan in April to advance to Tokyo along with four other teammates, says weightlifting chief Monico Puentevella.

More on possible Olympic qualifiers next time.

Read Next
LATEST STORIES
MOST READ
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: 2020 Tokyo Olympics, EJ Obiena, Hidilyn Diaz, Nesthy Petecio, pole vaulter, Summer Games
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.


© Copyright 1997-2019 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.