MANILA – Rifle shooter Jayson Valdez became the 12th Filipino to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.
Valdez, son of Philippine shooting legend Julius, earned a spot through the quota system put up by the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF).
Valdez will be competing in the men’s 10-meter air rifle event, and he joins Dutch shooter Peter Hellenbrand as wildcard entries to the said competition.
“I received an urgent message last night from the ISSF in Germany, the mother of all the shooting federations. They asked me if we’re ready, so I replied, ‘Yes, we’re ready!’ and they gave me the quota,” he said in a statement on Saturday about how he got the Olympic qualification.
Valdez also became the first Filipino shooter to qualify since Paul Rosario joined the 2012 London Olympics in the men’s skeet category.
“It’s been a long while since we had an entry in the event. It’s very exciting,” said Philippine National Shooting Association secretary general Irene Garcia in a statement.
Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Bambol Tolentino is also elated with the news.
“That’s an additional chance for us (to get an Olympic medal). Good thing there’s a quota qualifying in shooting, and the better thing, we have a world ranking athlete, also a scholar of the POC,” Tolentino said.
Julius Valdez, who won three gold medals in the 1987 Southeast Asian Games, is also serving as Jayson’s coach.
by Ivan Stewart Saldajeno