By Adrian Stewart Co
Negrense golfer Juvic Pagunsan became the latest addition to Filipino athletes competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to be held in late July in Tokyo, Japan.
The Murcia, Negros Occidental-native Pagunsan punched his first-ever Summer Games berth after finishing at 49th place in the latest Olympic golf rankings released on Tuesday night.
Pagunsan strengthened his bid for the Tokyo Olympics following his recent championship in the prestigious 2021 Mizuno Open in Okayama, Japan last month.
“It’s an honor to be able to fight on behalf of the country,” Pagunsan said in a previous interview with Golf Digest Japan.
Pagunsan also follows the footsteps of fellow Filipino golfer Miguel Tabuena, who was the last Filipino golfer to carry the country’s colors in the Summer Games during the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
At the age of 43, Pagunsan will also be the oldest among the 13 Tokyo-qualified Filipino athlete, that also includes fellow Region 6 athlete in Ilongga boxer Irish Magno.
However, Pagunsan’s Olympic qualification can also be a dilemma for him as the Summer Games’ schedule will just be few days after his 2021 British Open stint.
The 2021 British Open is slated from July 15 to 18 at Royal St. George’s Golf Course in Kent, England, while the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is scheduled from July 29 to August 7 in Tokyo, Japan.
If ever Pagunsan decided to forgo the Olympic slot, he will be replaced by either China’s Wu Ashun, Zhang Xinjun, or Li Haotong; or India’s Anirban Lahiri or Udayan Mane.
Meanwhile, Filipina-Japanese judoka Kiyomi Watanabe and Filipino-American trickster Kristina Knott became the 14th and 15th Filipino athletes in the Tokyo Summer Games with their qualification being formalized yesterday./ASC, WDJ