Young archers carry PH's hopes of qualifying in Tokyo Olympics

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 13) – The Philippines is sending its up-and-coming archery standouts for a possible Tokyo Olympics berth to the 2021 Archery Final Olympic Qualification Tournament in Paris, France.

World Archery Philippines Secretary General Rosendo Sombrio told CNN Philippines the delegation will be led by California-based standout Riley Silos. Also in the lineup are 19-year-old archers Jason Feliciano, Phoebe Amistoso, Monica Bidaure, and 22-year-old Pia Bidaure.

Sombrio emphasized that sending the young archers in the final Olympic archery qualifiers will give them more exposure in competing internationally.

"This is the preparation for our future, especially in the SEA Games and next Olympics. They are all products of our grassroots development program," said Sombrio.

Despite the raw bodies that will be sent to Paris to vie for an Olympic berth, Sombrio remains hopeful that the Philippines will return in the quadrennial sporting competition this year. The country last sent an archer in the 2012 London Games, bannered by Mark Javier and Rachelle Anne Cabral.

"This will definitely boost their morale and I'm confident they can get an Olympic slot because I saw them in training that they really want it. The tournament in France will be tight but I believe we have a chance," Sombrio added.

Silos, who topped the virtual national qualifiers last March, told CNN Philippines that he is shooting 200-300 arrows per day in his six-day training week to prepare himself for the Olympic qualifiers. He is also busy doing home workouts such as cardio exercises and weight training.

The 19-year-old Silos added that he is looking forward to the Paris Olympic qualifiers because it will be his first actual archery tournament since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The main challenge during the pandemic is not being able to compete in tournaments. An archer's skill is strengthened by experience. Competing in tournaments is key on improving," he said.

It is also a big deal for Silos to represent the country in the international stage as he dedicated his Olympic qualifiers campaign to his family based in California.

"I am competing in the Paris qualifiers wearing the colors of the motherland. Win or lose, nothing can take away the honor of being able to do that. Going to Tokyo would be the proverbial icing on the cake," Silos said.

The Bidaure sisters also dominated the online national qualifiers in the distaff side. They also joined Amistoso and Feliciano in their stint at the Asian Olympic qualifiers held in November 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Clint Sayo and Joy Marino will guide the five young Filipino archers in the Olympic qualifying event slated from June 18-21.