With pole vaulter EJ Obiena already securing a slot in the 2024 Paris Olympics, the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association eyes more Filipino tracksters to play in more international meets to join him at the French capital.
Patafa secretary general Edward Kho told DAILY TRIBUNE that they are looking to boost the Olympic bids of long jumper Janry Ubas and hurdlers John Cabang, Robyn Brown and Lauren Hoffman.
The Philippines only took home one gold medal in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China last September courtesy of Obiena.
“We’re hopeful we’ll be able to exceed the most number of athletes sent in the Olympics. I think the most number of athletes we sent was back at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics with three: Mary Joy Tabal, Marestella Torres and Eric Cray,” Kho said.
“Many national team members are competing in the UAAP and the Philippine National Games. By next year, our strong contenders for Paris will be considered for international tournaments, particularly Janry, John Cabang and the two women hurdlers Robyn Brown and Lauren Hoffman.”
“They have a strong chance to be supported for their bid for Paris.”
Ubas, the reigning Southeast Asian Games gold medalist, showed some signs he could make it as he won two tournaments in Europe, the Motonet Grand Prix in Lappeenranta, Finland; and the Triveneto Meeting in Trieste, Italy, last July.
In the same month, Brown made her name at the Asian Athletics Championships in Pattaya, Thailand by winning the gold medal in the women’s 400-meter hurdles.
At the same tournament, John Cabang now holds the national record for the men’s 110-m hurdles after clocking in at 13.70 seconds at the Asian Athletics Championships despite settling for fourth place.
Another Filipino-American hurdler Hoffman made an impressive Asiad debut, clocking in 57.21 seconds in the women’s 400-m hurdles final and even outpaced Brown, who only timed 57.55 seconds.
Patafa president Terry Capistrano said Cray and sprinter Kristina Knott, two of the top athletes in the Philippines, will have to make crucial adjustments if they want to secure a spot in the Paris Olympics.
Both Knott and Cray failed to reach the final in the latest Asiad in the women’s 100-m and men’s 400-m hurdles, respectively.