FEMALE golfers Yuka Saso and Bianca Pagdanganan are through to the Olympic Games in Tokyo next month, becoming the 16th and 17th Filipino athletes, respectively, to book their spots in the rescheduled quadrennial sporting meet.
Nineteen-year-old Saso, the 2021 US Women’s Open champion, and Ms. Pagdanganan, 23, Asian and Southeast Games gold medallist, qualified based on their world rankings and were to be formally announced by the International Golf Federation later on Tuesday.
Filipino-Japanese Saso is currently ranked number nine in the world while Ms. Pagdanganan is at 42nd.
The two join male golfer Juvic Pagunsan in the Philippine golfing team for the Tokyo Olympics.
The inclusion of Mses. Saso and Pagdanganan was already known weeks prior because of their strong showing in the professional circuit.
Ms. Saso bagged the US Open championship and made history to fortify her position in the world’s top 10 while Ms. Pagdanganan is steadily competing in the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour.
They both saw action in the recent KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in Atlanta, Georgia.
The National Golf Association of the Philippines expressed excitement over Mses. Saso and Pagdanganan and Mr. Pagunsan representing the country in the Olympics.
The local golf federation shared that said players are playing at a high level which should serve their respective campaigns in good stead.
Apart from the three golfers, Filipino athletes heading to Tokyo are pole-vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Caloy Yulo, boxers Eumir Felix Marcial, Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam, weightlifters Hidilyn Diaz and Erleen Ann Ando, rower Cris Nievarez, taekwondo jin Kurt Barbosa, shooter Jayson Valdez, judoka Kiyomi Watanabe and trackster Kristina Knott.
The Tokyo Olympics is scheduled from July 23 to Aug. 8. Golf will be played for the second straight Olympics in Japan. Golf competitions are scheduled from July 29 to Aug. 7 at the Kasumigaseki Country Club. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo