Patrick Coo tries to become the youngest member on Team Philippines when he vies for a slot to Tokyo in the International Cycling Union (UCI) World Cup Round 4 Olympic qualifier in Bogota on May 30.
Coo, 19, will rendezvous in the Colombian capital with PhilCycling coaches Ednalyn Hualda and Frederick Farr on Tuesday (May 11) because all participants in the Olympic qualifier need to complete 14 days in quarantine.
“I am very much motivated and excited to go after that slot [to the Tokyo Olympics],” said the 2019 Asian BMX juniors champion Coo, whose dad Benjamin hails from Iloilo and his mom Romalyn from Cagayan de Oro City.
Coo will be racing as the lone Philippine representative in Colombia after London 2012 Olympian Daniel Caluag couldn’t prepare for the qualifier because of his job as a frontliner nurse in Kentucky. To qualify for Tokyo, Coo has to finish at least in fourth place in Colombia.
“When Danny won, I was motivated to race for the Philippines,” said Coo, referring to Caluag winning the country’s only gold medal in the Incheon 2014 Asian Games that earned him the Athlete of the Year award from the Philippine Sportswriters Association. Coo was only 12 then.
“We are hoping for Patrick to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics not only because of his potentials to become a champion, but because of his passion and movitation—he trains endlessly,” said Philippine Olympic Committee president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, who also heads PhilCycling.
The Philippine Sports Commission is fully supporting Coo’s campaign with chairman William Ramirez also hoping the BMX athlete will join weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, gymnast Carlos Yulo, pole vaulter EJ Obiena and boxers Eumir Felix Marcial, Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam and Irish Magno in the July 23 to August 8 Olympics.
As an eight-year-old, Coo, of Bellflowere, California, won his first state championship. He went on to snatch four national age-group, 12 state and three western division titles in the US.
“I train hard all the time, but I am expecting tough opponents in Colombia,” said Coo, who after taking part in a 2019 Tokyo Olympics test event took a side trip for a visit to the country.