Kurt Barbosa was a prime embodiment of the never-say-die mentality when he became the first Filipino jin to qualify for the Olympics since Tshomlee Go in Beijing 2008. Barbosa overcame a 15-point deficit with just over a minute left to upset the much taller home bet Zaid Alhalawani in the qualifying tournament in Jordan.
The 22-year-old pride of Bangeud, Abra will look to emerge as the country’s first Olympic medalist in the combat sport as he competes in the men’s -58 kg category.
The 2019 SEA Games gold winner will have his hands full against reigning world champion Jang Jun of South Korea and other top-ranked jins Vito Dell’Aquila of Italy and Jesús Tortosa of Spain.
One of the last names to be listed among the Philippine delegation, Remedy Rule is raring to mark an impression early in this year’s Summer Games.
The national record holder in the women’s 100m butterfly, Rule will aim to end an Olympic medal drought for almost a century or since Teófilo Yldefonso’s bronze winnings in 1928 and 1932. She earned her Tokyo berth via the universality places after getting the highest FINA points among Filipino swimmers.
The 24-year-old Filipino-American, who won two silvers and two bronzes in the 2019 SEA Games, is set to swim in the 100m butterfly and 200m butterfly against a slew of Olympic champions and record setters.
Another up-and-coming tanker in Luke Gebbie is also eager to make waves in Tokyo.
Gebbie will be eyeing to bring his performance to a higher level after shattering the Philippine records in men’s 100m freestyle, 50m freestyle and 50m butterfly during his stint in the 2019 FINA World Championships and the subsequent SEA Games wherein he bagged a silver and a bronze.
Along with Rule, the 24-year-old Gebbie will attempt to give the country its long-awaited Olympic swimming medal after making it to Tokyo through universality places as well.
It’s easier said than done, however, as the Filipino-Kiwi swimmer will go up against big names such as Caeleb Dressel of United States, Kyle Chalmers of Australia and Florent Manaudou of France in the 50m and 100m freestyle events.