Sport

Rifle shooter is latest Tokyo Olympic-bound Filipino

Rifle shooter is latest Tokyo Olympic-bound Filipino

MANILA, Philippines — Shooter Jayson Valdez has become the newest Filipino to claim a seat in the Tokyo Olympics next month.

Valdez, 25, received his slot in the men’s 10-meter air rifle event via continental quota via email from the Munich-based International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF).

“I received an urgent message last night from the ISSF in Germany, the mother of all the shooting federations,” said Valdez. “They asked me if we’re ready, so I replied ‘Yes we’re ready!’ and they gave me the quota.”

Valdez thus emerged as the 12th Filipino to make the cut next to pole-vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Caloy Yulo, boxers Eumir Marcial, Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam, weightlifters Hidilyn Diaz and Elreen Ando, rower Cris Nievarez, jin Kurt Barbosa and skateboarder Margie Didal.

It also ended a two-Olympic cycle drought for the sport. The last time a shooter made it that far came in the 2012 London Games where Paul Brian Rosario got through in the men’s skeet as a wild card entry.

Valdez was the last to get the call from ISSF after making the minimum qualifying scores (MQS) he got in the World Cup and Asian qualifying tournaments early this year.

And international sporting success runs in the family as Valdez’s father, Julius, was a triple gold medalist in the 1987 Jakarta Southeast Asian Games.

Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham Tolentino and Philippine National Shooting Association (PNSA) secretary-general Irene Garcia both lauded Valdez for his feat.

“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,” said Tolentino.

“It’s been a long while since we had an entry in the event. It’s very exciting,” said Garcia.