LONDON — Promising to give their best shots, archers Mark Javier and Rachel Cabral step into the hallowed Lord’s cricket grounds on Friday morning to launch the Philippine campaign in the 30th Olympic Games.
Javier and Cabral will take part in the ranking round among the 64 competitors in each division to determine who plays who in the single-elimination, head-to-head phase which kicks off with the round of 32 action on July 30.
The 30-year-old Javier, a veteran of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, gets going at 9 a.m. while Cabral, in her first foray in the biggest stage of all, starts firing at 1 p.m. as they became the first two athletes among 11 Filipinos to go into the battle.
"Handang handa na po," said Cabral before politely excusing herself to join Javier in the car that would take them to the practice venue on Wednesday morning.
Under the ranking round rules, the competitors will shoot 72 arrows in 12 phases of six arrows each from 70 meters, with each archer allowed four minutes to complete each phase.The total score of all 72 arrrows determines the rankings of each athlete.
The battles that really matter start on Monday with the round of 32 stage where the No. 1 finisher takes on the 64th placer, the No. 2 plays the No. 63 and so on with the winners advancing to the round of 16.
Both Javier and Cabral made it to the Olympics via the backdoor, needing to figure well in a qualifier among countries which have no Olympic bets during the World Cup of Archery in Utah in May.
They trained for almost two months under Korean coach Chung JaeHun, a former world champion and a silver medalist in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics whose "fresh ideas’’ are expected to serve Javier and Cabral in good stead.
‘’Since he retired only a few years ago, the enthusiasm of an athlete is still there. He has fresh ideas. We’re fine with him,’’ said Javier on the day they checked in at the Athletes Village last week.