PH shooting team targets Tokyo Olympics
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine national shooting team has its eyes on the ultimate prize ahead of the Asian Shooting Championships on November 2 to 11 in Doha, Qatar.
This year’s Asian Championships will serve as the last Olympic Qualifying for Asia by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for next year’s Tokyo Olympics and the Nationals want nothing less than earning Olympic berths.
The top three finishers in each of the shotgun, rifle and pistol events of the tournament will gain quota places or outright qualification to the 2020 Tokyo Olympiad.
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman William Ramirez is hopeful the Filipino shooters will make the cut and become the country’s latest Olympic bets.
“We now have two Olympians in Tokyo, but we need more. That is why the PSC is supportive of all these exposures and competitions so that our athletes get big chances at making it to the ultimate competition of their careers—the Olympics,” Ramirez said.
So far, gymnast Carlos Yulo and pole vaulter EJ Obiena have clinched slots in the Tokyo Summer Games.
Two years ago, shotgun shooter Hagen Topacio won the Men’s Individual Trap silver medal in the Asian Shooting Championships in Kuwait.
The 2016 Asian Championships was also an Olympic qualifying event for the Rio Olympiad but the IOC later pulled out its recognition after organizers refused an Israeli technical official’s entry to Kuwait.
Topacio is eyeing a repeat of his silver medal performance—a feat that will secure him a ticket to Tokyo.
The other members of the men’s trap team are Eric Ang, Carlos Carag and Jethro Dionisio.
Jeson Valdez and Amparo Acuna are also capable of podium finishes in the mixed rifle event which will be played for the first time in the Olympics.
Also competing in the Asian Championships are Dennis Basila and Sean Ocampo in rifle, Michael Angelo Fernandez, Marcelo Gonzales, Shanin Gonzalez and Juliet Arellano in the pistol events
The Philippine team is also aiming for gold medals in the shotgun trap event, Mixed Rifle event, Benchrest light Varmint, Heavy Varmint, Metallic silhouette pistol and rifle events.
With full support from the PSC, the squad had several international training and exposures in Italy including its participation in the Asian Olympic Qualifying tournament in Doha Qatar next month.
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