Can the Philippines top their medal haul from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics? The country’s hopes in doing so lie in the hands of these athletes who have qualified for Paris 2024.
Most, if not all athletes dream of representing their country at least once in their careers. After all, what else could bring as much pride as uplifting an entire nation through sport? If it’s hard to imagine, just look at how countries celebrate when their national athletes win a World Cup trophy. But as far as international competitions go, it does not get much bigger than the Olympics. However, as the Olympics is only held once every four years, an athlete only gets so many chances to qualify for a coveted slot. The chances of winning a medal are even slimmer.
Tokyo 2020 marked a historic tournament for the Philippines, as Hidilyn Diaz won the country’s first-ever Olympic gold medal, and as the nation recorded their highest medal tally in Olympic history. And with the Philippine sports scene continuing to get even brighter, Filipinos have high hopes as we countdown to Paris 2024.
Currently, these hopes lie in the following Filipino athletes who have qualified for the 2024 Olympics.
EJ Obiena (Athletics)
EJ Obiena became the first Filipino athlete to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics when he cleared the qualifying benchmark of 5.82 meters in the Stockholm Diamond League-Bauhaus Galan back in July.
In the previous Tokyo Olympics, the Filipino concluded his campaign in the men’s pole vault event in 11th place, while Armand Duplantis from Sweden secured the gold medal. However, now with more years of experience in the bag and as World No. 2 in the men’s pole vault rankings, Obiena feels that this time around, he can beat Duplantis in the coming Summer Games.
Carlos Yulo (Gymnastics)
Carlos Yulo is headed for his second Olympic appearance at only 23 years old as of writing. He qualified for a spot in Paris 2024 in October this year as he was recognized as the highest-ranked eligible athlete in the floor exercise of the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships.
In his last Olympics appearance in Tokyo, the Filipino gymnastics sensation’s goal was to become the first athlete from the Philippines to win a gold medal for artistic gymnastics. However, he was unable to fulfill this goal as he missed out on the medal round of his event. But now, he will get a second chance at achieving this dream as he makes his way as one of the Filipino athletes headed for the Paris Olympics.
Aleah Finnegan (Gymnastics)
Aleah Finnegan is already making history for the Philippines and for herself having simply qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympics. Having secured her slot as one of the 14 highest-ranked eligible athletes in the women’s all-around qualification in the World Artistic Championships, she is now set to be the first female gymnast from the Philippines to compete in the Olympics since 1964.
Finnegan, only 20 years old, made her debut for the Philippines just last year in the Southeast Asian Games held in Vietnam, where she impressed by winning two gold medals for the country. Now, she is excited to honor her family and her country when she graces the Paris 2024 Olympics next year.
Eumir Marcial (Boxing)
Filipino boxer Eumir Marcial secured his spot as one of the Filipinos heading for the Paris Olympics in another major international competition: the Asian Games. Having won a slot in the finals of the men’s 71-80kg event, he already qualified for next year’s Summer Games, and even more than this, he earned the opportunity to win yet another Olympic medal.
In Tokyo 2020, Marcial was a huge part of the Philippines’ biggest medal haul in Olympic history as he proudly brought home a bronze medal for his event. Come Paris 2024, will he be able to win another?
Banner images from EJ Obiena, Aleah Finnegan, and Carlos Yulo on Instagram.