Sports

Yulo nets gold in Qatar; fencer, rower latest to gain berths for Paris Olympics

MANILA – The Philippines’ Carlos Yulo scored a gold over the weekend at the International Gymnastics Federation’s World Cup in Doha, Qatar.

This as more Filipino athletes have secured their berths in the Philippine delegation to the Paris Olympics which open in July.

The latest to join the Paris Games is Samantha Kyle Catantan who booked the Philippines’ 12th slot to the Paris Olympics and ended the country’s three-decade absence in fencing.

Catantan beat Kazakhstan’s Sofia Aktayeva, 15-14, in the women’s foil final of the Asia-Oceania Zonal Olympic Qualifier in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates on Saturday to make it to the Summer Games slated July 26 to Aug. 11.

On her way to the finals, the 22-year-old outclassed Israa Al Siyabi of Oman in the quarterfinals, 15-4; and stunned world No. 34 Hong Se-na of Korea l in the semifinals,15-3.

“I can’t thank my family, friends, coaches, teammates, and everyone who supported me enough. But most importantly, I want to thank everyone who never left my side — those who believed in me when I had doubt, pushed me when I felt weak, and celebrated with me through every progress and setback,” Catantan posted on Facebook on April 25.

Walter Torres, the last Filipino fencer in the Olympics, competed in the 1992 Barcelona Games.

Catantan’s feat was also a boost to the Philippine Fencing Association (PFA), which was accused of being “unfair and unjust” after former Ateneo de Manila standout Maxine Esteban opted to become a citizen Ivory Coast to achieve her Olympic dream.

Rower Joanie Delgaco became the first female rower of the Philippines to qualify for the Olympics after clinching a Paris Games ticket at the World Rowing Asian and Oceania Olympic and Paralympic Qualification Regatta and Asian Rowing Cup in Chungju, South Korea on April 21.

The 26-year-old finished fourth in the 2,000-meter women’s single sculls to join 10 other Filipinos who have already made it to the Paris Olympics slated July 26 to Aug. 11 this year.

“Sobrang saya. Nakita ko na lahat ng paghihirap ko. Di ko ine-expect ‘to (Very happy. This is the result of all my hard work. I didn’t expect this),” said Delgaco, a native of Iriga City, Camarines Sur.

The 24-year-old Yulo won in the men’s parallel bars final with a score of 15.200, beating Chinese Taipei’s Hung Yuan-Hsi’s 14.966 and Brazilian Caio Souza’s 14.566.

Earlier, he settled for silver in the vault event with a score of 15.066, behind Armenian Artur Davtyan (15.166).

The tournament also gave the Philippines its 10th Paris Olympian and third gymnast in Levi Jung-Ruivivar.

The 17-year-old sealed her slot after a silver medal finish in the uneven bars to join Yulo and Aleah Finnegan to the July 26 to Aug. 11 Summer Games.

The international gymnastics federation said 318 gymnasts will compete for 54 medals in Paris — 192 artistic, 94 rhythmic and 32 trampoline.

The seven other Filipino Olympians so far are Ernest John Obiena, athletics – pole vault; Eumir Marcial, Aira Villegas and Nesthy Petecio, boxing; and John Ceniza, Elreen Ann Ando and Vanessa Sarno, weightlifting. 

Meanwhile, rower Joanie Delgaco became the first female rower of the Philippines to qualify for the Olympics after clinching a Paris Games ticket at the World Rowing Asian and Oceania Olympic and Paralympic Qualification Regatta and Asian Rowing Cup in Chungju, South Korea on April 21.

The 26-year-old finished fourth in the 2,000-meter women’s single sculls to join 10 other Filipinos who have already made it to the Paris Olympics slated July 26 to Aug. 11 this year.

“Sobrang saya. Nakita ko na lahat ng paghihirap ko. Di ko ine-expect ‘to (Very happy. This is the result of all my hard work. I didn’t expect this),” said Delgaco, a native of Iriga City, Camarines Sur.

Edgardo Maerina (1988 Seoul), Benjamin Tolentino Jr. (2000 Sydney), and Cris Nievarez (2022 Tokyo) were the other rowers who previously made it to the Olympics.

Earlier, Filipino-American gymnast LeVi Jung-Ruivivar also earned a trip to Paris after bagging the silver medal in the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Cup in Doha, Qatar.

She became the third gymnast to qualify after Carlos Yulo and Aleah Finnegan.

“Eleven, formally, and counting,” Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham Tolentino posted. . “Congratulations to our new qualified Olympians. Their dedication, perseverance and exceptional talent are an inspiration to us all.”

Weightlifter Rosegie Ramos is unofficially the 12th Filipino to qualify, pending the International Weightlifting Federation’s official announcement of the roster for the Games.

The country is also guaranteed three more qualifier under the universality rule — one in athletics and two in swimming.

“We expect more of our athletes to be in Paris as the qualifiers in various sports are still being conducted,” Tolentino, also president of the cycling association, said.

Hoping to qualify are Robyn Brown (athletics), Kurt Barbosa (taekwondo), Cris Nievarez (rowing), brothers Keisei and Shugen Nakano (judo), Yuta Watanabe (judo), Jericho Francisco (skateboarding), Patrick Coo (BMX cycling), Shagne Yaoyao (MTB cycling), Emma Malabuyo (gymnastics), golfer Bianca Pagdanganan, and boxers Carlo Paalam, Criz Laurente, Hergie Bacyadan and Rogen Ladon.

The other Paris-bound athletes are pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena; boxers Eumir Felix Marcial, Nesthy Petecio and Aira Villegas; and weightlifters Vanessa Sarno, Erleen Ann Ando and John Febuar Ceniza. (Jean Malanum/PNA)

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