LONDON — Between them, archers Mark Javier and Rachel Ann Cabral have fired around 1,900 arrows since arriving here last week as they hit the closing stage of their training for the 30th Olympic Games.
The number of arrows fired from their imported, expensive bows tells of how serious, how determined Javier and Cabral are in their quest to make good in the biggest stage of all.
Although they left nothing to chance in their buildup under a dependable South Korean coach, both Javier and Cabral refused to predict what lies ahead.
"It’s hard to predict. Let’s just wait for the competitions to begin,” Javier politely answered, before joining the rest of his teammates for the bus ride to the Philippine embassy for a dinner with the Philippine ambassador.
Like Javier, Cabral also begged off from assessing what the future holds for her, except saying they will give their best shots from the moment they fire their first arrows.
"I’ll do my best. That’s for sure,” Cabral said.
And like his athletes, Korean coach Chung Jae Hun has not said a word about their chances, smiling only everytime one asked the same question.
Maybe, their bows and arrows will do the talking when they start stepping onto the hallowed pitch of the Lord’s Cricket Ground for the ranking round on the same day the world’s biggest sports event opens with a glitzy welcome party on July 27.
But both Javier and Cabral were talking when queried about the good things they learned from their two-month training stint under Chung, a former world champion and a silver medalist in the 1996 Barcelona Olympics.
The coach being young, and just recently retired from active competitions was a plus for the two Filipino archers, who said the fresh ideas he brought to them may do wonders for their campaign.
"Newly-retired lang siya kaya his ideas as an athlete are fresh pa," said Javier, one of three Filipinos now into their second Olympics, the other being long jumper Marestella Torres and weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz.
Chung was taken to help train the national team in the World Cup of Archery in May in Utah, where both Javier and Cabral clinched their Olympic berths.
"Magaling na coach,’’ Cabral said of Chung, who stays in a private range of a sports-loving businessman in San Bartolome, Novaliches where the two Olympians have trained for almost two months, seven days a week, 12 hours a day.
Javier and Cabral were the last to make it to the 11-athlete Team Philippines, but will be the first to see action as they compete starting on Friday morning in the ranking round to determine who plays who in the round of 32.
OLYMPIC NOTES: The last two Filipino Olympians competing in the Games will arrive on Tuesday after wrapping up the final stages of their overseas training. They are boxer Mark Anthony Barriga, who is coming from Cardiff, Wales and BMX rider Danny Caluag, who is arriving from the Netherlands... The PH team is supported by ICTSI, Bank of Philippine Islands, Petron, Samsonite, Mizuno, Smart Sports, TV5, PSC, Procter & Gamble and Philracom. The team was treated to a dinner by Philippine Ambassador Enrique Manalo and his staff at the embassy office...