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Shooter Jayson Valdez 12th Filipino athlete to qualify for Tokyo

Rifle shooter Jayson Valdez is the 12th Filipino entrant to the Tokyo Olympics, according to an announcement by Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) Pres. Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino on Saturday.

"That's an additional chance for us. 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," said Tolentino.

Valdez will participate in the men's air rifle 10-meter event via quota system of the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF).

He is the first delegate in the event since wild card entrant Paul Brian Rosario participated in the men's skeet event at the 2012 London Olympics. Valdez is the son of 1987 Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Julius, who is also a shooter.

Philippine National Shooting Association Secretary General Irene Garcia said that she received a message from the ISSF, which asked if they were ready for a quota spot, and answered in the affirmative.

"It's been a long while since we had an entry in the event. It's very exciting," mentioned Garcia.

Garcia explained that Valdez was able to meet the minimum qualifying scores due to his participation in various international meets.

Valdez joins pole vaulter EJ Obiena; gymnast Carlos Yulo; boxers Irish Magno, Eumir Marcial, Carlo Paalam, and Nesthy Petecio; weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz and Elreen Ando; rower Cris Nievarez; taekwondo jin Kurt Barbosa; and skateboarder Margielyn Didal on the Philippine contingent to Tokyo.

Expected to formalize their entry on June 22 are golfers Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan, and Juvic Pagunsan, via their top 60 spots in the Olympic rankings.