RIO DE JANEIRO — Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco expressed full confidence that the country’s athletes are more than capable of bringing home at least a bronze medal by the end from the Rio Olympics.
Cojuangco, however, refused to name who among the 12 Philippine athletes who qualified in the Olympics has a shot at the country's first Olympic medal in 20 years.
“Meron mga close to it already. I don’t want to say who they are because it will add pressure to them,” said Cojuangco.
Table tennis player Ian Lariba, weightlifters Hidilyn Diaz and Nestor Colonia, taekwondo jin Kirstie Elaine Alora, swimmer Jessie Khing Lacuna, and long jumper Marestella Torres-Sunang arrived here with more than a week before the August 5 opening to get acclimatized to the conditions of the Brazilian city.
Six more athletes in boxers Rogen Ladon and Charly Suarez, 400m hurdler Eric Cray, marathoner Mary Joy Tabal, swimmer Jasmine Alkhaldi and golfer Miguel Tabuena will follow suit to complete the 12-man team that will see action in the Olympics.
Cojuangco pointed out that the Filipino athletes made it to the Olympics through their own merits.
“First of all, wala tayong gifted qualifier. Each of them really had to qualify. That means to say they already showed their wares,” said Cojuangco.
Cojuangco also expressed optimism about the future of Philippine sports with the recent pronouncements made by President Rodrigo Duterte that he will support the Filipino athletes in his term.
“What is encouraging now is if this continues that the pronouncement of the President that they will take care of them, then we will start looking at performance,” said Cojuangco.