Paris Olympics

LIST: Filipino athletes who qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympics

JR Isaga, Delfin Dioquino

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LIST: Filipino athletes who qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympics

CHAMPION. The Philippines' EJ Obiena celebrates after winning the gold medal in the men's pole vault in the 19th Asian Games.

Dylan Martinez/REUTERS

As the 2024 Olympics nears, take a look at which athletes have already punched their tickets to Paris as part of the growing Philippine delegation

MANILA, Philippines – The clock is ticking for the world’s best athletes to punch their tickets to the 2024 Paris Olympics, and so far, the Philippines is on track to once again be well-represented in the top quadrennial multi-sport showpiece.

Several Filipino standouts have already qualified to fly the flag in Paris, with many more in the wings waiting for their shot at ultimate sporting glory.

The Philippines will have a lot to prove in the 2024 Olympics after a historic 2021 run in Tokyo, where living legend Hidilyn Diaz won the country’s first-ever gold through a masterful weightlifting display.

Additionally, the 19-strong Filipino delegation also secured the nation’s biggest medal haul ever in a single Olympics, with Diaz’s gold topping a big four-medal tally, boosted by two silvers and one bronze from boxers Carlo Paalam, Nesthy Petecio, and Eumir Marcial, respectively.

Here is the updated list of athletes hoping to make more history for the Philippines in Paris, in chronological order of qualification:

EJ Obiena (athletics)

First on the list is one of the Philippines’ best hopes for a 2024 Olympics medal, pole vaulting superstar EJ Obiena.

Ranked No. 2 in the world just behind reigning Olympic champion Mondo Duplantis, the 28-year-old is looking to capitalize on a monumental 2023 season highlighted by notching a new personal and Asian record 6-meter jump on June 10, 2023 and an early Paris qualification on July 3, 2023.

Carlos Yulo (gymnastics)

Looking to prove doubters wrong after a controversial split with his old coach, artistic gymnastics phenom Carlos Yulo punched his Olympic ticket on October 1, 2023, and has continuously trained to perfect his craft just in time for Paris.

At just 24 years old, the two-time world champion, six-time Asian champion, and nine-time Southeast Asian (SEA) Games champion is gunning for his first Olympic gold, particularly in his floor exercise pet event.

Aleah Finnegan (gymnastics)

Prior to even stepping foot in Paris, Aleah Finnegan is already a history maker for Philippine gymnastics, as her qualification on October 3, 2023, marked the first time a Filipina gymnast qualified for the Olympics since 1964.

Only representing the Philippines for two years so far since her 2022 SEA Games debut, the 21-year-old prodigy is out to make herself a household name with a stellar Olympics debut, and perhaps, win even more hearts with her first medal.

Eumir Marcial (boxing)

Another familiar face in the upcoming Olympics, boxing star Eumir Marcial is up for another round (or two, or three) with the world’s best, and is looking for a better shine to his 2021 bronze medal.

Qualified for Paris on October 4, 2023, the 28-year-old veteran makes a forced jump to the men’s 80kg class after his favored 75kg division was scrapped for the 2024 Games and is now out to prove himself and the world that he can still bring his best foot forward in the ring even in uncharted territory.

Nesthy Petecio (boxing)

One of the Philippines’ best female boxers today, 31-year-old Nesthy Petecio is right in the middle of her athletic prime, and now has a golden opportunity to improve on her historic 2021 Olympic silver with a return trip to the sport’s biggest stage.

After qualifying on March 12, 2024, Petecio returns to the women’s 57kg event in Paris, where she has a chance to make more history for Filipina boxing.

Aira Villegas (boxing)

Making her Olympics debut in July, Aira Villegas joins Petecio as the other Filipina boxer who will give the Philippines a much-needed extra medal chance, this time at the women’s 50kg class after also booking her spot on March 12, 2024.

At 29 years old, the Leyte native already has significant experience under her belt to make her go toe-to-toe with other world-class sluggers and possibly snag an Olympic medal in just her first try.

John Ceniza (weightlifting)

Weightlifter John Ceniza  looks all set for an Olympic debut after securing his Paris Games spot after a strong performance in the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Cup men’s 61kg event in Phuket, Thailand, on April 2, 2024.

The 26-year-old rising Cebuano star stayed well inside the qualification cutoff as only the top 10 in each weight category will compete in the sport’s biggest stage.

Elreen Ando (weightlifting)

Elreen Ando sealed her Olympic return after a solid showing in the IWF World Cup in Phuket, Thailand on April 3, 2024 to secure her place in the women’s 59kg division of the Paris Games.

The 25-year-old Cebuana weightlifter, though, had to do it at the expense of Hidilyn Diaz – the Philippines’ first Olympic gold medalist – as only one weightlifter per country per weight category will advance to Paris. She bested Diaz with a total lift of 228kg in the World Cup to stay inside the top 10 qualification cutoff.

Ando, who shattered the Southeast Asian Games record last year, aims to surpass her Olympic debut performance where she finished seventh in the Tokyo Games in 2021. 

Vanessa Sarno (weightlifting)

Reigning Southeast Asian Games champion Vanessa Sarno secured a spot in the Paris Games on April 7, 2024, paving the way for the Philippines to have its biggest weightlifting contingent in the Olympics in nearly four decades.

The 20-year-old pride of Bohol stayed inside the top 10 of the IWF Olympic Qualification Ranking after an impressive stint in the World Cup where she shattered her own national record in the snatch event.

Levi Jung-Ruivivar (gymnastics)

Far from the Olympic radar, Levi Jung-Ruivivar pulled off the improbable to become the Philippines’ third gymnastic bet in the Paris Games.

The Filipino-American teen, who narrowly reached the final as the last qualifier, captured a silver in the women’s uneven bars of the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Cup Series in Doha, Qatar on April 19, 2024

With her medal breakthrough, Jung-Ruivivar hiked her qualification points to become the country’s 10th Olympian in Paris. 

Joanie Delgaco (rowing)

Joanie Delgaco became the Philippines’ first female rower to qualify for the Olympics on April 21, 2024 after a strong performance in the women’s single sculls of the World Rowing Asian and Oceanian Olympic Qualification Regatta in Chungju, South Korea.

Delgaco finished fourth in the 2,000-meter event, staying in the top five to earn her ticket to Paris.

Samantha Catantan (fencing)

Philippine fencing booked a return trip to the Olympic stage after three decades as Samantha Catantan topped the continental Paris Games qualifiers.

A former UAAP standout, Catantan ruled the women’s foil category in the Asia-Oceania Zonal Olympic Qualifier in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates on April 27, 2024 to become the first Filipino fencer to earn an Olympic spot since Walter Torres competed in the 1992 Barcelona Games.

Emma Malabuyo (gymnastics)

A fourth gymnast joined the Philippines’ Olympic cast as Filipino-American Emma Malabuyo sealed her bid with a medal-winning performance in the qualifiers.

Malabuyo, a varsity member of the University of California, Los Angeles, claimed her spot in the Paris Games after bagging a bronze in the individual all-around of the Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Asian Championships on May 24, 2024 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. 

Carlo Paalam (boxing)

Olympic silver medalist Carlo Paalam made sure to book a return trip to the sport’s biggest stage.

Although the Cagayan de Oro boxer took a longer route after falling short in the two previous qualifiers, Paalam did so convincingly this time, winning all of his five bouts in the the men’s 57kg of the World Qualification Tournament in Bangkok, Thailand to claim his Paris Games ticket on June 1, 2024.

Paalam, who had a thrilling debut run in the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 before settling for silver, hiked Philippine boxing’s Olympic contingent to four.

Hergie Bacyadan (boxing)

Make that five Filipino boxers in the Paris Games.

Hergie Bacyadan made Philippine boxing the biggest contingent for the country in this year’s Olympics after earning her spot in the women’s 75kg.

A former world champion in the combat sport vovinam,  Bacyadan earned a unanimous decision win over Venezuela’s Maryelis Yriza in the World Qualification Tournament in Bangkok, Thailand on June 2, 2024 to book her ticket to Paris.

Bianca Pagdanganan  (golf)

Earning another trip to the Olympics, golfer Bianca Pagdanganan completed the 60-women field after making the Paris Games cut-off in the world rankings released on June 25, 2024

But the 26-year-old Pagdanganan aims for a better showing this time after finishing 43rd in the Tokyo edition in 2021. 

Dottie Ardina (golf)

Golfer Dottie Ardina reached the quadrennial showpiece for the first time after making the the 60-women cut-off for the Paris Games released on June 25, 2024.

The 30-year-old Ardina competed in just two LPGA events this year, but looks to rebound in Paris after a tough season. 

Kiyomi Watanabe (judo)

Filipina-Japanese judoka Kiyomi Watanabe secured a second consecutive Olympic stint after clinching one of the two continental quotas reserved for Asia on June 25, 2024.

The 27-year-old bet targets a better showing in the Paris Olympics after a first-round exit in the Tokyo Games.

Lauren Hoffman (athletics)

Lauren Hoffman earned her Paris Olympics spot via the world rankings in the women’s 400m hurdles on July 2, 2024.

Hoffman – the Filipino-American who holds the national record in the women’s 100m hurdles – accomplished the feat by the skin of her teeth as she made the 40-entry cutoff at the 39th spot, collecting just enough points to advance.

John Cabang Tolentino (athletics)

Another hurdler made it to the Paris Olympics via the world rankings as John Cabang Tolentino qualified on July 2, 2024.

Tolentino, a Filipino residing in Spain, finished 30th out of 40 qualifiers in the men’s 110m hurdles, just a couple of months after setting the Philippine record in the same event. 

Kayla Sanchez (swimming)

Swimmer Kayla Sanchez advanced to the Olympics for the second straight edition as she qualified via universality on July 3, 2024.

Helping Canada win a silver and a bronze in the Tokyo Games, Sanchez will represent the Philippines this time a year after her citizenship switch as she is set to see action in the women’s 100m freestyle.

Jarod Hatch (swimming)

Like Kayla Sanchez, Jarod Hatch formalized his Olympic entry via universality on July 3, 2024.

Hatch, who won three medals in the previous Southeast Asian Games, will compete in the men’s 100m butterfly. – Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.