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Shooter Jayson Valdez books spot in Tokyo Olympics

Jayson Valdez.
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--A second-generation rifle shooter is set to show that he is the newest top Filipino gunslinger as he officially qualifies for the Tokyo Olympics.

Jayson Valdez, the son of Philippine shooting legend Julius, earned a place in the men's 10-meter air rifle event through the quota system.

Julius Valdez, who won three golds in the 1987 Southeast Asian Games, also serves as his son's coach.

Jayson Valdez joins Dutch shooter Peter Hellenbrand as wildcard entries to the said event.

“I received an urgent message last night from the ISSF (International Shooting Sports Federation) in Germany, the mother of all the shooting federations. They asked me if we’re ready, so I replied, ‘Yes, we’re ready!’ and they gave me the quota,” Valdez shared on Saturday how he got the Olympic qualification.

Valdez, the 12th member of the Philippine team to the Tokyo Olympics, became the first Filipino shooter to qualify since Paul Rosario joined the 2012 London Olympics in the men's skeet category.

“It’s been a long while since we had an entry in the event. It’s very exciting,” said Philippine National Shooting Association secretary general Irene Garcia.

Philippine Olympic Committee president Bambol Tolentino is also elated with the news.

“That’s an additional chance for us [to get an Olympic medal]. Good thing there’s a quota qualifying in shooting, and the better thing, we have a world ranking athlete, also a scholar of the POC,” Tolentino said.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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