PSC backs PATAFA athletes to Tokyo 2020 Olympics

The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) acting on its previous announcement to fully-support national athletes for their Tokyo Olympics 2020 quest, met with Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA), Inc. President, Philip Ella Juico Thursday at the PhilSports Complex to lay down plans for athletics.

PSC Chairman William Ramirez discussed the particulars of the assistance to be provided for the Olympic programs of pole vaulters EJ Obiena and Natalie Uy, sprinter-hurdler Eric Cray, runner Kristina Knott, shot putter Willie Morrison and newly-added marathoner Christine Hallasgo.

PSC Chairman Butch Ramirez with EJ Obiena
PSC Chairman Butch Ramirez with EJ Obiena

Among those above-mentioned, the 24-year-old Obiena has a fighting chance to win an Olympic medal as he currently ranks no. 14 in the world per latest standings.

Obiena is the first qualifier of the country in the 32nd Olympiad after surpassing the qualifying mark by 5.81 meters during the tournament in Chiara, Italy last September. This was recently followed by a gold medal finish by Obiena in the 2019 SEAG held in the country.

“We have to capitalize on the success of EJ Obiena and other track and field athletes at the 30th SEA Games, and give them full support on their Olympic qualifications” said Ramirez.

Athletics ranked third overall in the country’s hosting of the biennial meet, bagging a total of 11 gold, 8 silver, and 8 bronze medals.

“Our goal is to sustain this momentum in the Olympics and 2021 in Vietnam. We thank the PSC for its support for our athletes,” shared Juico.

Last December 23, President Rodrigo Duterte pledged P100 million to support the foreign exposure of Tokyo 2020 Olympics-bound athletes.

“With the President’s commitment to our national athletes, it is more than enough to sustain their foreign trips and the core team of each Olympic-bound athletes” shared the agency chief.

During the Summer Olympics held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016, the PATAFA sent three Olympians courtesy of long jumper Marestella Torres, marathoner Mary Joy Tabal and fil-am sprinter-hurdler Cray.