TEAM Philippines bicycle motocross (BMX) racer Patrick Coo seeks to earn a spot in the Tokyo Olympics when he takes part in the International Cycling Union (UCI) World Cup Round 4 Olympic qualifier in Bogota, Colombia, on May 30.
United States-based Coo, 19, is set to meet coaches Ednalyn Hualda and Frederick Farr from the Integrated Cycling Federation of the Philippines (PhilCycling) in the Colombian capital this week to prepare and comply with the 14-day quarantine protocol for the event.
The top junior racer will be the lone Philippine representative in Colombia after London 2012 Olympian Daniel Caluag was a no-go because of his job as a frontliner nurse in Kentucky.
Despite that, Mr. Coo is excited to represent the country in the qualifiers and break through.
“I am very much motivated and excited to go after that slot [to the Tokyo Olympics],” said Mr. Coo, the 2019 Asian BMX juniors champion.
“I train hard all the time, but I am expecting tough opponents in Colombia.”
To qualify for Tokyo, Mr. Coo has to finish at least in fourth place in the Bogota qualifier.
For its part, PhilCycling said it is fully behind the push of Mr. Coo for the Olympics and looking forward to seeing his growth with the national team.
“We are hoping for Patrick to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics not only because of his potential to become a champion, but because of his passion and motivation — he trains endlessly,” PhilCycling head and Philippine Olympic Committee President Abraham Tolentino said in a statement.
Mr. Coo is based in Bellflower, California, and born to Filipino parents Benjamin, who hails from Iloilo, and mom Romalyn from Cagayan de Oro City.
In 2019, he took part in a Tokyo Olympics test event and made a short visit to the country after.
In Colombia, Mr. Coo looks to join seven other Filipino athletes who have already qualified for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, namely: pole-vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Caloy Yulo, boxers Eumir Felix Marcial, Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio, and Carlo Paalam, and weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz.
The rescheduled Olympics happens from July 23 to Aug. 8. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo