MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Shooting team has dual purpose when it goes into action from November 2 to 11, 2019 in the Asian Shooting Championship in Doha, Qatar.
One of which is to further hone up their skills for the upcoming 30th Southeast Asian Games and a view to a kill for a possible Olympics berth in the ASC.
The International Olympics Committee has recently declared for the ASC as last and final Olympic Qualifying meet for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
The first three athletes to win in the shotgun, rifle at pistol events in the Qatar meet shall accordingly be afforded automatic quota places or automatic qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympiad.
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman William Ramirez, who also serves chief of mission of Team Philippines in the 30th SEAG, said he greatly hopes for the Philippine contingent to prevail in the shooting tournament and jack up the number of Filipino qualified athletes in the quadrennial meet.
“We now have two Olympians (pole vaulter EJ Obiena and gymnast Carlos Yulo) 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,” said Ramirez.
It may be recalled three years ago shotgun shooter Hagen Topacio snared the silver medal in the Men’s Individual Trap in the ASC in Kuwait.
The 2016 Asian Championships also served as Olympic qualifying event for Rio Olympiad but then the IOC suddenly dropped official recognition of the event after organizers allowed entry of an Israeli technical official in Kuwait.
Topacio hopes to duplicate the feat he accomplished before and make it into the 2020 Olympics.
The other members of the team seeing action in Qatar are (men’s trap team) Eric Ang, Carlos Carag and Jethro Dionisio while Jeson Valdez and Amparo Acuna will accordingly try a podium finish in the mixed rifle event which will be first staged in the Tokyo Games.
The other shooters in the Asian Championships are Dennis Basila and Sean Ocampo (rifle), Michael Angelo Fernandez, Marcelo Gonzales, Shanin Gonzalez and Juliet Arellano (pistol events).
The Philippine shooting team also hopes to bring home the bacon in the shotgun trap event, mixed rifle event, bench rest light Varmint, Heavy Varmint, Metallic silhouette pistol and rifle events.
Aside from the Qatar event, the Philippine Shooting Team also saw action previously in Italy and other parts of Europe behind the able support of the PSC. (Loreto Oredo/IAmigo/CNS)