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Saturday, May 25, 2024

POC chief Tolentino: 11 Olympians and counting

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The number of Filipino athletes qualifying for Paris is rising and so is the buildup of excitement as the country braces for its 100th year of participation in the Olympics.

“Eleven, formally, and counting,” said Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president on Sunday, a day after gymnast Levi Jung-Ruivivar and rower Joanie Delgaco officially became the 10th and 11th Filipino Paris Olympian in a little over a 24-hour span.

Jung-Ruivivar qualified on Friday night at the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Cup in Doha where she grabbed a silver medal and enough qualification points to become the third Filipino gymnast to vie in Paris after Carlos Yulo and Aleah Finnegan.

On Sunday morning, Delgaco finished fifth in the 2,000 meters of women’s single sculls at the World Rowing Asian and Oceania Olympic and Paralympic Qualification Regatta and Asian Rowing Cup in Chungju, South Korea, enough to earn a ticket to Paris.

“Congratulations to our new qualified Olympians,” Tolentino also said in his official Facebook page, noting that Delgaco is the first Filipina rower to qualify for the Olympics. “Their dedication, perseverance and exceptional talent are an inspiration to us all.”

“The POC extends its heartfelt congratulations and best wishes for continued success as they compete in Paris 2024,” Tolentino said. “The entire Philippines stands behind you.”

Both Jung-Ruivivar and Delgaco are surprise packages in the Olympic qualifiers under a hundred days before the Paris Olympics.

Weightlifter Rosegie Ramos is unofficially the 12th Filipino to qualify for Paris pending the International Weightlifting Federation’s official announcement of the roster for the Games.

The country is also guaranteed three qualifiers—one in athletics and two in swimming—under the universality rule making the Filipino Olympian count unofficially at 15.

“We expect more of our athletes to be in Paris as the qualifiers in various sports are still being conducted,” Tolentino said.

Also qualified for Paris are pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena, boxers Eumir Felix Marcial, Nesthy Petecio and Aira Villegas and weightlifters Vanessa Sarno, Erleen Ann Ando and John Febuar Ceniza.

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