With barely two months to go for the opening of the 2nd Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, only eight Filipino athletes have so far made it to the Philippine team bound to compete at the prestigious Olympic games for the youth this August 14 to 28.
Already in the Philippine lineup are archers Luis Gabriel Moreno and Bianca Cristina Gotuaco, artistic gymnast Ava Loren Verdeflor, triathlete Victorija Evania Deldio and 3-on-3 basketball’s Kobe Paras, Manuel Mosqueda III, John Paul Cauilan and Amando San Juan II.
About ten more athletes are waiting for the final confirmation of their YOG stints which include swimmers Roxanne Ashley Yu, Kirsten Chloe Daos and Jethro Roberts Chua.
All three swimmers have already registered qualifying standard times, and are awaiting for the final list of YOG swimmers which will be released by FINA on Wednesday, June 25. FINA is the world governing body of all aquatics events.
Also awaiting for their YOG slots are golfers Mia Legaspi and Princess Superal, shooter Aparo Acuna, and one or two from taekwondo who are still trying to qualify for the YOG.
With Philippines not making it to the Top 26 NOCs/NGFs based on the World Amateur Golf Ranking system, Legaspi and Superal are lobbying for their inclusion at the Nanjing YOG, having won the gold and silver in the 2013 Asian Youth Games.
Acuna on the other hand is in Munich competing in the World Shoot but is still awaiting confirmation of her YOG slot. She also saw action in the last AYG in Nanjing.
About 200 nations will be seeing action at the 2nd edition of the game, vying for the 222 gold medals in 28 sports.
With just a dozen qualifiers at most, the Philippines will be hard-pressed to deliver a medal in the second Youth Olympic Games.
“It’s very hard to tell because these athletes are all first-timers in the YOG,” said Jonne Go, the chef-de-mission of the Philippine contingent to the global event.
Go said as chef-de-mission, she’s working closely with the qualifiers, whom they have enrolled to the Olympic Solidarity program.
Under the Solidarity program, the eight athletes are receiving $500 a month for training purposes.
“We are getting full support from the International Olympic Committee. The IOC has been very generous as far as providing support to the athletes for their training and actual participation,” said POC vice president Jose Romasanta.
Romasanta added the Solidarity program does not only cover the coming YOG but the 2016 Rio Olympics as well.
“It’s not limited to the YOG and not just for the athletes but for also technical assistance to the NSAs (national sports associations) and coaches,” Romasanta stressed.
The POC official said the IOC has already asked them to recommend athletes to be placed under the program and enhance their chances of qualifying to the next Olympics.
“The IOC is trying to ensure that there will be expanded participation in Rio and ensure quality competition. Under this program, our athletes will enhance their chances to qualify,” he said.