Caluag, Dormitorio within sniffing distance of Olympic berths
Don’t count Philippine cycling out of the Tokyo Olympics just yet.
Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol’’ Tolentino, the country’s cycling chief, said on Sunday that BMX rider Daniel Caluag and mountain biker Ariana Dormitorio are still in the race to secure Olympic spots.
“I’m confident of their chances. They can still make it,’’ Tolentino said, citing that both riders are within striking distance of punching a ticket to Tokyo.
Three months ago, Dormitorio was ranked fourth among women in Asia while Caluag, the former Asian Games gold medalist who suited up in the London Olympics, was fifth among men.
But they should move up a notch with Japan, as host country, already guaranteed berths in Tokyo. Japan is No. 1 both in mountain bike and BMX. Only the top three Asian nations in each discipline will qualify.
Dormitorio and Caluag can collect more points to bump up their ranking when the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the world governing body of the sport, hosts two qualifying races next year.
“There have been several communications from the UCI lately. But if the races are held, let’s say, in Europe, how can we participate if there are no flights going there?’’ Tolentino said.
The Cavite representative pointed out that the national championships, which got canceled this year due to the coronavirus menace was supposed to give Dormitorio and Caluag a boost in the rankings.
“Both events can still offer wildcard spots. I’m not losing hope as long as the Olympics doesn’t get canceled and pushes through as scheduled,’’ Tolentino added.
The International Olympic Committee and Japan organizers have decided to postpone the Tokyo Summer Games to July 23 to August 8 next year due to the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis.
At present, the Philippines has four Olympic qualifiers in pole vaulter EJ Obiena, world champion gymnast Carlos Yulo and boxers Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno. INQ
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