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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Fil-Am Bossong hoping to represent PH in Paris

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HAVING a shot at competing in the Paris Olympics is Filipino-American trackster Victoria Bossong’s biggest dream this year.

And it has been her dream for a long time. The start of the 2024 outdoor season in the United States has brought a lot of excitement, achievements and opportunity for the 20-year-old Bossong to get close to her goals.

Bossong, a third year medical student at Harvard University, is a sprinter competing in the Division 1 NCAA of the Eastern region of the United States. She has recently shifted to middle-distance events and the 800-meter run.

The start of her outdoor campaign saw Bossong shave her personal best time by almost six seconds, coming up with a really fast time in the last weekend of March.

That was when Bossong ran the 800-meter finals of the Pepsi Florida Relays in two minutes and 92/100ths of a second for a gold medal and a clocking that was close to the Olympic entry standard time of 1:59.30.

 “I’m hoping to have a shot this year. And my focus is on Paris. It’s my biggest goal right now,” said Bossong in an interview with the Manila Standard.

Bossong is fortunate to be coached by 12-year Harvard mentor Kebba Tolbert, who handled Olympic medalist Gabrielle Thomas when she was still studying at Harvard.

Thomas bagged a bronze medal in the women’s 200-meters of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, to go with a silver in the women’s 4×100 meter relays.

With her personal best time down by six seconds since last year, Bossong said she is confident that her clocking can go lower in the coming weeks.

And Bossong hopes that her personal best in the 800-meters will even be lower when she joins an Ivy League Championship meet in Princeton this May, regional meets and national meets of the NCAA in the coming months and the Penn Relays.

 “I will be striving for an NCAA title in those events (NCAA regionals and nationals). I will try to get a shot at that, and run super fast,” added Bossong.

Back in March, Bossong’s clocking was considered as the best and fastest time in the NCAA pre-season, better than what Hayley Kitching of Penn State submitted at 2:01.17 for the silver in the same event.

But all that changed as the season progressed, after Michaela Rose of LSU, Glady Chepngetch of Clemson and Kelly Ann Beckham ran faster times in the first two weeks of April, with Rose checking at 1:58.37 at the Bryan Clay Invitationals on April 11.

Bossong, with her 800-meter clocking now ranked fourth, from first last month, continues to wait since she started sending feelers to the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association last year, so that she will make her dream for the country possible.

 “I’m hoping to compete for the Philippines. And If I can bring down my time to 1:59 to qualify for the Olympics, I’m really excited for this summer,” said Bossong.

Bossong’s chances of representing the Philippines will happen once she has completed the process of obtaining a Philippine passport.

The family of Bossong originated from Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro. She graduated from Cheverus High School and was raised Cumberland, Maine.

Her mom, Dr. Catalina Yaco Atienza, a dentist, graduated from Centro Escolar University College of Dentistry.

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