Make or break for 41 PH athletes seeking Olympic berths
The final composition of Team Philippines to the forthcoming Tokyo Olympics will be settled over the next five weeks as Filipino athletes from various sports engage in a make-or-break gamble to qualify.
There are still 41 athletes from 12 sports that remain in the hunt to clinch those Olympic spots before the window of opportunity to carry the national flag on the grandest stage in global sports closes.
Skateboarders Margielyn Didal and Kiko Francisco are set to boost their stock in the Iowa Dew Tour in Des Moines, Iowa, United States, on May 17 to 23 before capping their qualifying campaign in the Street World Championships 2021 in Rome from May 30 to June 6.
Four taekwondo jins—Pauline Lopez, Kirstie Elaine Alora, Kurt Barbosa and Arven Alcantara—are scheduled to compete in the Asian Qualification Tournament on May 21 and 22 in Amman, Jordan, their last-ditch effort to see action in the Olympics.
BMX racer Patrick Coo, the lone bet standing in cycling, will get a one-shot opportunity in the BMX World Cup 2021 in Bogota, Colombia, from May 26 to 30 in an effort to join the eight Filipino athletes who have already made it to Tokyo.
“I’m confident that there will be more qualifiers in the coming weeks as we prepare for the Olympics with 10 weeks to go,’’ said Philippine Olympic Committee president and Cavite representative Abraham “Bambol’’ Tolentino.
3X3 cagers also with shot
The Gilas Pilipinas 3×3 squad of Joshua Munzon, Alvin Pasaol, CJ Perez and Mo Tautuaa is likewise ready for the challenge in order to book a trip to Tokyo, Japan, through the Fiba (International Basketball Federation) 3×3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Graz, Austria, from May 26 to 30.
Surfers John Mark Tokong, Roger Esquivel Jr. and Edito Alcala will try their luck in the World Surfing Games (WSG) in El Salvador from May 29 to June 9 together with women surfers Nilbie Blancada, Daisy Valdez and Vea Estrellado.
The top Asian competitors in the WSG for both men and women will advance to the Olympics scheduled to open July 23 until August 8 in the Japanese capital despite strong opposition and criticism from the Japanese people.
“We have provided the support that our athletes need to succeed from the time they started preparing until they compete in these qualifiers,’’ said Philippine Sports Commission chair William “Butch’’ Ramirez.
Judoka Kiyomi Watanabe and siblings Keisei Nakano and Shugen Nakano will be seeking to strengthen their Olympic rankings in the World Judo Championships in Budapest, Hungary, from June 6 to 13 before six karatekas and Pinoy archers wrap up the country’s Olympic qualifying bid.
Yuka, Bianca await rankings
Karatekas Jamie Lim, Joane Orbon and Junna Tsukii as well as Ivan Agustin, Sharief Afif and Alwyn Batican have been bracing for the World Olympic Qualification Tournament from June 11-13 in Paris, where the archery team will participate in its own qualifying meet from June 18 to 21.
Triathlete Kim Mangrobang, tracksters Eric Cray and Kristina Knott and swimmers James Deiparine, Luke Gebbie, Remedy Rule and Jasmine Alkhaldi are hoping meet their respective Olympic standards before the qualifying cutoff in the final week of June.
Golfers Yuka Saso and Bianca Pagdanganan are awaiting the official confirmation of their qualification to join gymnast Carlos Yulo, pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena and weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz.
Rower Cris Nievarez was the latest to book a slot and joined pugs Nesthy Petecio, Eumir Marcial, Irish Magno and Carlo Paalam.