From vision to fruition.
Air rifle shooter Jayson Valdez saw his dream of punching his Olympic ticket come true as he became the 12th Filipino to qualify for the Tokyo Games via a continental quota.
Valdez said he once had a literal dream of competing in the Olympics and winning the gold medal that has eluded the Philippines throughout the history of the quadrennial showpiece.
“I had a dream. It was the Olympic Games, I don’t know what year, but it was very clear that I held the gold medal,” Valdez said in Filipino during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday, June 22.
“I tried really hard to repeat that kind of dream,” Valdez added. “Maybe that’s a sign. We’ll see. We’ll never know what will happen next.”
Valdez thought he would not reach the Olympics after failing in the qualifiers two years ago. Then he received a message over the weekend that would change his life.
The International Shooting Sports Federation asked Valdez if he was ready to see action in Tokyo and gave him the Olympic berth in the men’s 10m air rifle event.
Valdez became the first Filipino to qualify for the sport in the Olympics since the 2012 London Games, where Paul Bryan Rosario participated as a wild card entry in the men’s skeet event.
He is being assisted by his father Julius, and national team veteran Nathaniel “Tac” Padilla, who both won gold medals in the sport in the Southeast Asia Games.
“Being an Olympian has always been his dream,” Valdez said of his father, who encouraged him to pursue shooting.
As Valdez blossomed in the sport, he got further help from Padilla, whom he fondly calls as “dad.”
“From the start, he is there to support me. He gives me equipment, he buys me guns, he gives me his support,” Valdez said of Padilla.
Valdez has a month left to prepare for the Olympic event where a total of 30 marksmen will be competing, with the top eight advancing to the medal round. – Rappler.com