Filipino BMX champion vies for Tokyo Olympics slot

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 9) – A young Filipino BMX champion will shoot for a Tokyo Games berth in an Olympic qualification tournament in Bogota, Colombia on May 30.

19-year-old Patrick Coo is the lone Philippine rider in the International Cycling Union World Cup Round 4 Olympic qualifier, where he will be guided by coaches Ednalyn Hualda and Frederick Farr.

“I am very much motivated and excited to go after that slot [to the Tokyo Olympics]. I train hard all the time, but I am expecting tough opponents in Colombia,” said Coo, the 2019 Asian BMX juniors champion.

Coo shared that his inspiration for competing in the Olympic qualifiers is Daniel Caluag, the first Filipino BMX rider to play in the Olympics in 2012 at London. Caluag, also a 2014 Asian Games gold medalist, failed to prepare for this year’s Olympics because of his job as a medical frontliner in the United States.

Coo needs to finish at least in fourth place in the Bogota Olympic qualifiers to land a spot in the Tokyo Games.

Integrated Cycling Federation of the Philippines President Bambol Tolentino believes Coo possesses the right qualities to represent the country in the world’s biggest sporting competition.

“We are hoping for Patrick to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics not only because of his potentials to become a champion, but because of his passion and motivation -- he trains endlessly,” said Tolentino, who is also the head of the Philippine Olympic Committee.

The Tokyo Olympics BMX competition is slated from July 29 to Aug.1 at the Ariake Urban Sports Park.

So far, seven Filipino athletes have officially qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. They are weightlifter and 2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz; gymnast Carlos Yulo; pole vaulter EJ Obiena; and boxers Eumir Marcial, Irish Magno, Carlo Paalam, and 2019 AIBA Women’s world champion Nesthy Petecio.

CNN Philippines correspondent Pauline Verzosa contributed to this report.