Army-bound Valdez to focus on Olympics first

Jayson Valdez will be putting aside his plans to join the Philippine Army.

For now, preparing for the Tokyo Olympics will be his priority.

The 25-year-old Valdez said his plans are now quickly changing after he learned that he has earned an Olympic qualification slot in the men’s air rifle 10-meter event.

“I was planning to join the Army. Now, this will set it back. It will just have to wait,” said Valdez in a message to the Manila Standard.

It took Jayson Valdez many hours to find out before he has already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.

Since January, Valdez had already given up hope on his Olympic dream, since there was no confirmation at all on his status.

Valdez spent his Friday afternoon at the Ft. Magsaysay Military Reservation in Nueva Ecija, where he was following up on his application as a recruit for the Philippine Army, saying he was too busy to check his messages.

An email came in that same moment, with Philippine National Shooting Association secretary general Iryne Garcia finding out about Valdez’s qualification status.

Garcia’s message finally came through that evening when Valdez was having dinner with his cousins in Cabanatuan.

His qualification has hardly sunk in and his father Julius, and the commanding officerin charge of his recruitment, are still both in disbelief.

“Kinakabahan ako. Hindi pa kasi nagsi-sink in. Kasi pangarap pa lang ang pagiging Olympian ko. Ngayon title na,” added Valdez, who became the 12th Filipino athlete to qualify for the Tokyo games.

Valdez joined early qualifiers, namely boxers Nesthy Petecio, Irish Magno, Carlo Paalam and Eumir Felix Marcial, pole vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Carlos Yulo, skateboarder Margielyn Didal, taekwondo jin Kurt Bryan Barbosa, rower Cris Nievarez and weightlifters Hidilyn Diaz and Erleen Ann Ando.

With this development, Valdez would most likely focus his training for the Olympics either in Ft. Magsaysay, with the help of the Philippine Army, or he will continue it with members of the national team that’s getting ready for the Southeast Asian Games.

All will depend on how officials the PNSA and the commanding officers involved with him in the Philippine Army will come to an agreement.

Valdez said he has been planning to join the military since 2015, when the Philippine Army began actively recruiting him.

“Hindi ko naman totally iiwanan (national team). Kailangan ko lang ng consistent job. Tumatanda na ako, 25 na ako. Gusto ko naman makatulong in a small way sa family and parents. So why not join? Nu’ng 2015 pa ako kinukuha ng Philippine Army,” added Valdez.

Jayson is the son of Julius Valdez, a three-time Southeast Asian Games champion, who won three gold medals and one silver at the 1987 SEA Games.  

Now retired, Julius is now coaching his son.

Valdez made the minimum qualifying scores or MQS for his participation in the World Cup and Asian qualifying tournaments.

His eligibility put an end to the eight-year wait for a Filipino qualifier in the sport. The last time a Filipino shooter made it was when Paul Brian Rosario competed in men’s skeet as a wild card entry in London 2012. 

Topics: ​Jayson Valdez , Tokyo Olympics , men’s air rifle 10-meter event

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