Paris Olympics

LIST: Filipino athletes who qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympics

JR Isaga

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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

With the 2024 Olympics just a few months away, 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. – Rappler.com

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