The Philippine National Shooting team is all fired up to compete in the Asian Shooting Championships on Nov. 2 to 11 in Doha, Qatar and will try to book slots in next year’s Olympic Games.
This year’s edition of the Asian Championships has been declared as the last Olympic Qualifying for Asia by the International Olympic Committee for next year’s Tokyo Olympic Games.
The top three finishers in each of the shotgun, rifle and pistol events of the tournament will gain quota places or outright qualification to the 2020 Tokyo Olympiad.
Philippine Sports Commission Chairman William Ramirez is hopeful of the shooters’ victory, saying the country needs more qualifiers to Tokyo.
“We now have two Olympians in Tokyo, but we need more. That is why the PSC is supportive of all these exposures and competitions so that our athletes get big chances at making it to the ultimate competition of their careers—the Olympics,” Ramirez said.
So far, gymnast Carlos Yulo and pole vaulter EJ Obiena have clinched their slots in the Tokyo Games.
It will be recalled that Shotgun shooter Hagen Topacio two years ago won the Men’s Individual Trap silver medal in the Asian Shooting Championships in Kuwait.
The 2016 Asian Championships was also an Olympic qualifying event for the Rio Olympiad but the IOC later pulled out its recognition after organizers refused an Israeli technical official’s entry to Kuwait.
Topacio is eyeing a repeat of his silver medal feat to earn a slot in next year’s Tokyo summer games.
The other members of the men’s trap team are Eric Ang, Carlos Carag and Jethro Dionisio.
Jeson Valdez and Amparo Acuna are also capable of podium finish in the mixed rifle event which will be played for the first time in the Tokyo Games.
Other shooters competing in the Asian Championships are Dennis Basila and Sean Ocampo in rifle, Michael Angelo Fernandez, Marcelo Gonzales, Shanin Gonzalez and Juliet Arellano in the pistol events
The Philippine shooting team is also aiming for the golds in shotgun trap event, Mixed Rifle event, Benchrest light Varmint, Heavy Varmint, Metallic silhouette pistol and rifle events.
The Philippine Shooting Team had several international training and exposures in Italy and other parts of Europe with the full support from the PSC, including its participation in the Asian Olympic Qualifying tournament in Doha Qatar next month.