National shooters aim for Tokyo slots in Qatar

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    THE national shooting team will compete in the Asian Shooting Championships on Nov. 2-11 in Doha, Qatar and will try to book slots in next year’s Olympics.

    The Asian Championships has been declared as the last Olympic qualifying for Asia by the International Olympic Committee for next year’s Tokyo Games.

    The top three finishers in shotgun, rifle and pistol events gain quota places or outright qualification for the Olympiad.

    Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez is hoping the shooters would succeed, saying the country needs more qualifiers to Tokyo.

    “We now have two Olympians in Tokyo but we need more. That is why the PSC is supportive of all these exposures and competitions so that our athletes get big chances at making it to the ultimate competition of their careers—the Olympics,” Ramirez said.

    So far, only gymnast Carlos Yulo and pole vaulter EJ Obiena have clinched slots in the Tokyo Games.

    It will be recalled that shotgun shooter Hagen Topacio won the men’s individual trap silver medal in the Asian Shooting Championships in Kuwait two years ago.

    The 2016 Asian Championships was also an Olympic qualifying event for the Rio Olympiad but the IOC later pulled out its recognition after organizers refused an Israeli technical official’s entry to Kuwait.

    Topacio is eyeing a repeat of his silver medal feat to earn a slot in next year’s games.

    The other members of the men’s trap team are Eric Ang, Carlos Carag and Jethro Dionisio.

    Jeson Valdez and Amparo Acuna are also capable of podium finishes in the mixed rifle event that will be played for the first time in Tokyo.

    Other shooters competing in the Asian Championships are Dennis Basila and Sean Ocampo in air rifle, Michael Angelo Fernandez, Marcelo Gonzales, Shanin Gonzalez and Juliet Arellano in the pistol events.