PH delegation to Tokyo could be biggest since 2000 Games
In the next 20 days, Team Philippines will shift its preparation to high gear and finalize the pieces required for a golden breakthrough in the Tokyo Olympics.
Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol’’ Tolentino is confident that the Philippine delegation would be having 20 athletes at the most to accomplish the colossal task of nailing the country’s first Olympic gold medal.
“The projection is 15 to 20 athletes. If we’re able to send 20, then this will be our biggest delegation in the last 21 years,’’ said Tolentino, citing the 20-athlete PH contingent during the 2000 Sydney Games.
So far, there are nine official Tokyo Olympic qualifiers headlined by 2016 Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz of weightlifting, world champion gymnast Carlos Yulo, pole vault ace EJ Obiena and women’s world boxing champ Nesthy Petecio.
Boxers Carlo Paalam, Irish Magno and Eumir Marcial are likewise included in the elite cast together with rower Cris Nievarez and taekwondo’s Kurt Barbosa.
US Open women’s champ Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan and Juvic Pagunsan of golf will most likely make the Olympic cut pending their official inclusion as well as Asian Games gold medalist Margielyn Didal of skateboarding and four-time Southeast Asian Games gold winner Kiyomi Watanabe. The Olympic cutoff for qualifiers in various sports is set on June 22-30.
“Counting these athletes plus possible athletes from karatedo, judo, triathlon, archery, swimming and athletics, our chances for the gold (medal) will be much bigger than the previous Olympics,’’ said Tolentino. INQ
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