Olympic-bound Jayson Valdez credits shooting legend Tac Padila for success
MANILA, Philippines – There is one other man behind the success of Tokyo Olympics-bound shooter Jayson Valdez aside from his champion father Julius — multiple Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Nathaniel “Tac” Padilla.
“Si Daddy kasi actually before pa, sabi nya sa sa akin focus ka lang, don’t mind anything and just listen to your father,” said Valdez, who was granted an Olympic slot via continental quota a few days ago, during Tuesday’s online Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum.
“Lagi niya sinasabi kung merong problema, sabihin lang sa kanya, sobra laki tinulong niya sa amin especially sa family ko,” he added.
The 25-year-old Valdez was referring to Padilla, a five-time SEA Games gold medalist who convinced the former’s father and first coach Julius, a three-time SEA Games gold winner whom he calls “Papa,” to take up the sport.
Valdez, whose campaign is bankrolled by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), has been close to Padilla since childhood being friends with the latter’s children.
And having two "fathers" who won a combined eight SEA Games mints as influences worked for Valdez in realizing his Olympic dream.
“Even before I made the shooting team, lagi ako ako iniinvite sa bahay ni Dad kasi me mga anak sya na shooters din na kapatid ang turingan namin,” said Valdez. “From the start, sya na nag support sakin. Binigyan nya ako gamit, baril. Every competition, binibigyan nya ako ng support kaya noon pa lang, tawag ko na sa kanya Dad.”
Valdez also thanked Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero, a former president of the Philippine National Shooting Association (PNSA).
“Nag PM (private message) nung midnight to congratulate me. He brought a world-class electronic shooting machine before, sobra laki naging tulong sa amin that time,” said Valdez.