Filipino athletes gun for more Tokyo Olympic slots

Filipino athletes gun for more Tokyo Olympic slots

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines’ search for more Olympic berths goes into a final windup as Filipino Tokyo Games hopefuls from various sports plunge into action in their respective qualification tournaments in different parts of the world in the next few weeks.

The four-man taekwondo team of 2016 Rio Olympics veteran Kirstie Alora and 2019 Southeast Asian Games medalists Pauline Lopez, Kurt Barbosa and Arven Alcantara fly today to compete in the Asian qualifier set May 21 to 22 in Amman, Jordan.

National surfers Nilbie Blancada, John Mark Tokong, Edito Alcala, Jay-R Esquivel, Daisy Valdez and Vea Estrellado, for their part, are leaving on Monday for the World Surf Games slated May 29 to June 6 in El Salvador.

Asian Games skateboarding gold medal winner Margie Didal is already in the United States to join in the Iowa Dew Tour set May 17-23 in Des Moines before departing for the World Championship 2021 scheduled May 30 to June 6 in Rome, Italy where the top earn outright Tokyo slot.

BMX rider Patrick Coo is all set to participate in the World Cup from May 26-30 in Bogota, Colombia as well as cagers Mo Tautuaa, CJ Perez, Alvin Pasaol and Joshua Munzon, who are aiming to beat overwhelming odds in the FIBA 3×3 Qualifiers set May 29-30 in Graz, Austria.

The Kiyomi-Watanabe judokas are competing in the World Championships from June 6 to 13 in Budapest, Hungary while the eagle-eyed national archers point their arrows at their Olympic Qualifying Tournament from June 18 to 21 in Paris, France after their training camp in Chinese Taipei.

The beach volley team spearheaded by Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons are going to several training camp starting in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte and Subic in preparation for Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Continental Cup from June 20-27 in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand where a lone Olympic seat is at stake.

“Our campaign for more Olympic slots is in the final swing and we wish our athletes a lot of luck,” said acting Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) executive director Guillermo Iroy, Jr., whose agency has bankrolled everything.

The country has a total of eight qualifiers to date, including rower Cris Nievarez, who was the most recent addition to the list.

The other Olympic entrants are pole-vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Caloy Yulo, boxers Eumir Marcial, Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam and 2016 Rio Games weightlifting silver medal winner Hidilyn Diaz.

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