The Philippine Track and Field Athletics Association painted a rosy picture of what’s in store for its athletes following their strong performance in the 2023 World Athletics Championship in Budapest.
Patafa secretary general Edward Kho told Daily Tribune that the emergence of other stars aside from EJ Obiena will boost them in other major international events like the Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games and the Olympics.
Obiena took home the silver in the world meet after notching a personal record-tying performance of 6.0 meters in the men’s pole vault event. But hurdlers Eric Cray and Robyn Brown also made their presence felt as they gained enough points from the Asian Athletics Championships in Pattaya, Thailand to qualify in the World Championships.
Cray and Brown, however, failed to win a medal.
“This is a big deal. One, qualifying for the World Athletics Championships isn’t a daily feat you can easily achieve. It’s the same process as the Olympics where you qualify by performance or accumulating enough points. Getting through universality it’s sort of like a consolation but to get there by your own efforts is really a big thing,” Kho said.
“It’s an exceptional achievement to get a medal in the World Championships and the Olympics but to be able to qualify is a substantial achievement already that cannot be done casually by most athletes.’’
Hurdler John Cabang and long jumper Janry Ubas also tried to join the Filipino tracksters in the World Championships but fell short after failing to meet the qualifying standards.
With the qualifying period for the Paris Olympics still open, Kho said they are looking to send delegates other than Obiena to represent the federation.
In the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, Obiena and sprinter Kristina Knott were the only representatives for the Philippines.
“We’re looking forward to having more than Eric Cray and Robyn Brown and EJ in the Olympics. We’re hoping to have more. We can’t say their names at the moment,” Kho said.
“We’re hoping that this Paris Olympics will have the biggest contingent of athletics in the history of Philippine sports.”