Shooter Jayson Valdez dreamed of making it to the Olympics – literally.
Back in 2018, the 25-year-old had a dream about competing in the sports’ grandest stage and winning the gold medal.
He is a step closer to living that reality after recently earning a berth to the Tokyo Games through the quota system.
“Right now hindi pa rin po ako makapaniwala. Di nawala sa isip ko yung Olympics lalo na nung napanaginipan ko nung 2018 na nanalo daw ako ng gold medal,” Valdez said in an interview with Radyo Pilipinas 2.
“Sobrang overwhelming ng feeling kasi eto na yung pinapangarap ko since pumasok ako sa national team nung 2009.”
Valdez, who only learned of his qualification last Friday, earned a slot at the last minute in the men’s air rifle 10-meter after making the minimum qualifying scores (MQS) for his participation in the World Cup and Asian qualifying tournaments.
The news came as a surprise for Valdez, who was already thinking of joining the military.
“January pa lang, naka-focus na sa isip ko to go to the Army. Not necessarily iwan yung pagiging atleta, pero gusto ko ring maka-provide sa family ko,” said Valdez, adding that the Army has been recruiting him since 2015.
That plan has to be set aside for now as he is focused on making the most out of the remaining days before the Olympics fires off July 23.
He said he hasn’t stopped training, but they still need to go back to the drawing board on how to intensify his preparations with little time left before the Games.
“Good pressure naman po sakin. Yung physical conditioning yung nagiging sandalan ko ngayon kasi kahit na limitado yung actual training, solid naman yung mga nagiging performance ko,” Valdez said.
Valdez became the first shooter to make it to the Olympics since since Paul Brian Rosario qualified and competed in the men’s skeet as a wildcard entry in the 2012 London Games.
He becomes the 12th Filipino to qualify to Tokyo, joining pole vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Carlos Yulo, boxers Eumir Marcial, Nesthy Petecio, Irish Magno and Carlo Paalam, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz and Elreen Ando, rower Cris Nievarez, taekwondo jin Kurt Barbosa and skateboarder Margielyn Didal.