Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Bambol Tolentino has a strong premonition that more Filipino athletes will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics—surpassing the 13 it had way back in the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

/ 26 May 2021

“Definitely lalampas na ng thirteen kasi ‘yung to be announced, lalampas na ng thirteen eh,” Tolentino told the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum, Tuesday powered by SMART, has Upstream Media as its webcast partner and is presented by San Miguel Corp., MILO, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, and PAGCOR.

There are already nine athletes who clinched their spots for the Tokyo Olympics that are slated to compete from July 23 to August 8. 

Kurt Barbosa, the latest to secure its Olympics berth, earned a historical win over Zaid Al-Halawani in the 2021 Asian Taekwondo Olympic Qualification Tournament in Amman, Jordan over the weekend.

Completing the list are weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz; boxers Eumir Marcial, Carlo Paalam, Nesthy Petecio, and Irish Magno; pole-vaulter EJ Obiena; gymnast Caloy Yulo; and rower Carl Nievarez.

Nagdadasal pa rin ako na umabot ng twenty but definitely, malalampasan na ‘yung thirteen,” Tolentino told the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum, Tuesday.

Athletes who are expected to qualify for the Tokyo Games are led by Yuka Saso and Bianca Pagdanganan since both are at no. 22 and no. 43, respectively of their Olympic Golf rankings in the International Golf Federation. 

The top 60 players in the world in men’s and women’s will qualify for the Games, which is just less than two months away.

Included in the list also is  Margielyn Didal, who is ranked 14th in the world in skating, is looking to earn a seat through the Street World Championships 2021 in Rome, Italy from May 30 to June 6.

Moreover, the local Olympic body is also expecting swimmers to earn an outright berth in Tokyo through the Universality rule since four tankers, Jasmine Alkhaldi, Luke Gebbie, Remedy Rule, and James Deiparine, are in contention.

Tracksters Eric Cray and Kristina Knott could make it to the prestigious tournament as well, as they continue to qualify for the Olympics overseas.

“We have already nine. The two golfers will be announced as per ranking, so that’s eleven; plus two universality ng aquatics; and athletics. And Margielyn Didal, tumuntong lang siya sa Italy, that’s it,” Tolentino averred. 

Junna Tsukii has also the potential to make it to Tokyo since it is seen from her huge victory earlier this May when she bagged the gold in the Karate Premier League in Lisbon, Portugal.

Judoka Kiyomi Watanabe also could earn a spot since he only needs a few more ranking points before she formalizes her entry into the tilt.

The beach volleyball teams are on their way to earn their Olympic ticket through the AVC Continental Cup Final, set next month. 

And ultimately, Gilas Pilipinas is looking to bring back Filipino hoops in the Olympic basketball scene after nearly half a century.

Gilas Pilipinas will compete for an Olympic slot through the FIBA 3×3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Graz, Austria scheduled this week and the FIBA Men’s OQT in Belgrade, Serbia slated from June 29 to July 4.

May karate, judo, basketball, 3×3, archery. Lalampas,” Tolentino said.