By Mark Angelo Mañez

PHOTO: Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Tokyo Olympics delegation chef de mission Nonong Araneta is expecting more Filipinos to join gymnast Caloy Yulo, pole-vaulter EJ Obiena and boxers Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno to the quadrennial event.

“We still have at least 83 athletes from 19 sports who have a chance to qualify and we hope a lot of them will,” said Araneta.

The Philippine Football Federation president mentioned 2016 Rio weightlifting silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz, golfers Yuka Saso and Bianca Pagdanganan, skateboarder Margie Didal, karatekas Junna Tsukii, Jamie Lim and Joane Orbon, judoka Kiyomi Watanabe, taekwondo jins Samuel Morrison and Pauline Lopez, boxers Nesthy Petecio and Charly Suarez, and sprinter Kristina Knott as among those with stronger chances of making the cut.

Other notable names in the list are 2016 Rio veterans Miguel Tabuena of golf, Jasmine Alkhaldi of swimming, Rogen Ladon of boxing and Kirstie Elaine Alora of taekwondo, judo’s Kensei and Shugen Nakano, triathlon’s Kim Mangrobang, track and field’s Eric Cray and William Morrison, boxing’s Ian Clark Bautista, Riza Pasuit and Carlo Paalam, cycling’s Daniel Caluag and Ariana Dormitorio, fencing’s Samantha Kyle Catantan, and wrestling’s Noel Norada and Jason Baucas.

There are also bets in archery, 3x3 basketball, canoe kayak, rowing, table tennis and surfing eyeing Tokyo berths.

Araneta, Philippine Sports Commission chairman William Ramirez and Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham Tolentino all agree that Tokyo will be the country’s best chance of snaring its first Olympic gold.

“We’re hoping it will come this year,” said Araneta.

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