POC aims at least 11 PH Olympians for Rio

SOURCE: Philippines Star by Joey Villar

 

Fil-Am sprinter Eric Cray is one of five athletes who have booked Olympic berths for the Philippines. | AP/Joseph Nair

Fil-Am sprinter Eric Cray is one of five athletes who have booked Olympic berths for the Philippines. | AP/Joseph Nair

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines will have at least five representatives in the 2016 Olympics set from August 5 to 21 in Rio de Janerio, Brazil. For some Phl sports officials, they wanted more.

Joey Romasanta, the Phl Olympic Committee’s first vice president and the country’s chief of mission, on Tuesday said they are eyeing at least six more slots in the quadrennial event with still four months to go before the actual games.

“We’re looking to earn more Olympic berths but we’re looking a minimum of 11. And we have five now,” said Romasanta, during the press conference of “Road to Rio” or the slogan used by TV5 after it gained the official broadcasting rights of the games Tuesday in Makati City.

The five who have secured slots to Rio were Fil-Am sprinter Eric Cray, boxers Rogen Ladon and Charly Suarez, taekwondo jin Elaine Alora and table tennis’ Ian Lariba.

Romasanta, who also heads the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. and the karatedo group, said he has high hopes boxing will produce more Olympic qualifiers.

“We hope there will be more from boxing, perhaps two more male boxers two more in the women’s division,” he said.

In the 2012 London Games, a total of 15 Filipinos qualified.

Apart from boxing, the country’s other Olympic hopes could also come from weightlifting where Hidilyn Diaz hopes her recent performance will get certification and Gilas Pilipinas, which is seeking to top the six-team Olympic Qualifiers the country will host this July.

In the Olympic basketball qualifiers, Gilas will have its hands full against teams like France and Canada, which boasts of several NBA players in their fold.

According to POC honorary member Frank Elizalde, there is still hope in basketball.

“If we can beat a team like France, which has several NBA superstars playing here, we’ll have a chance,” he said.

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