By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Shooter Jayson Valdez became the latest Filipino athlete to qualify to the Tokyo Olympics after earning a slot in the men’s air rifle 10-meter event through the quota system.
Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Bambol Tolentino announced this development Saturday after his office received an email from the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) announcing Valdez’s qualification.
“That’s an additional chance for us. Good thing there’s a quota qualifying in shooting, and the better thing, we have a world ranking athlete, also a scholar of the POC,” Tolentino said in a statement.
This is the first time a Filipino shooter made it to the Olympics since Paul Brian Rosario qualified and competed in the men’s skeet as a wildcard entry in the 2012 London Games.
With Valdez’s qualification, the Olympic-bound PH team now has 12 athletes.
He joins pole vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Carlos Yulo, boxers Eumir Marcial, Nesthy Petecio, Irish Magno and Carlo Paalam, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz and Elreen Ando, rower Cris Nievarez, taekwondo jin Kurt Barbosa and skateboarder Margielyn Didal.
Philippine National Sports Association (PNSA) Secretary General Irene Garcia also confirmed Valdez’s entry.
Valdez said he received an urgent message Friday night from the ISSF based in Munich, Germany.
“They asked me if we’re ready, so I replied ‘Yes we’re ready!’ and they gave me the quota,” Valdez said.
Garcia said Valdez made the minimum qualifying scores or MQS for his participation in the World Cup and Asian qualifying tournaments. She added that the Philippines was the last country that qualified for the event.