Gold-dreaming Valdez sets target scores
Jayson Valdez once dreamt about clutching an Olympic gold medal.
In reality, he is aware of the numbers he must shoot for, literally, to give himself a chance for a medal in Tokyo.
The 25-year-old second-generation Filipino marksman understands beating his personal best of 630 points could get him nearer to the podium as he faces 30 competitors from various countries entered in the men’s 10-meter air rifle event in the Summer Games.
“That’s my immediate goal. I have to shoot better than my personal best of 630,’’ said Valdez, son of Southeast Asian (SEA) Games multiple gold medalist Julius Valdez, who acts as his coach along with veteran Nathaniel “Tac’’ Padilla, a five-time gold medalist in the SEA Games.
Jayson, who qualified to Tokyo via the continental quota awarded by the International Shooting Sports Federation, said he is aiming for 631 or 632 points in the classification round.
“If that happens, I’m sure I will advance to the top eight,’’ said Jayson, a bronze medalist in the 10-meter air rifle during the 2015 Singapore SEA Games.
The work began on Thursday for Jayson, who duplicated the feat of Paul Bryan Rosario, the last Filipino shooter (men’s skeet) who qualified as a wildcard entry in the 2012 London Olympics.
“I had a dream where I was holding a gold medal after a game in the Olympics. It could be a vision. We’ll see,’’ said Jayson, who took up the sport on the prodding of his father, winner of three golds and a silver in the 1987 Jakarta SEA Games.
The younger Valdez will be working with his father and Padilla in the build-up for the shooting competitions of the Games scheduled on July 24 at Asaka Shooting Range in Tokyo.
“He (Padilla) has been supporting me ever since I started competing. He provided the equipment and the things I need to succeed, including in my competitions overseas,’’ said Valdez. INQ
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