MANILA, Philippines -- Young cyclist Patrick Coo will attempt to become the eighth Filipino athlete to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, when he competes in the International Cycling Union (UCI) World Cup Round 4 Olympic qualifier in Bogota on May 30.
The 19-year-old Coo will meet PhilCycling coaches Ednalyn Hualda and Frederick Farr in Bogota on May 11. All participants in the Olympic qualifier need to complete a 14-day quarantine.
"I am very much motivated and excited to go after that slot," said Coo, the 2019 Asian BMX juniors champion.
Coo traces his roots to Iloilo through his father, Benjamin, and to Cagayan de Oro city through his mother, Romalyn. He is the lone Filipino competitor in the Colombia event, as Daniel Caluag could not prepare for the qualifier because of his job as a frontline in Kentucky.
Coo considers Caluag as his idol, especially after the veteran's triumph in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon.
"When Danny won, I was motivated to race for the Philippines," said Coo.
"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," said PhilCycling chief Rep. Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino, also the president of the Philippine Olympic Committee.
Coo has to finish at least in fourth place in the Bogota race to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.
Currently, the Philippines has seven qualified athletes to the Summer Games -- weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, pole vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Carlos Yulo, and boxers Irish Magno, Eumir Marcial, Nesthy Petecio, and Carlo Paalam.
As an eight-year-old, Coo won his first state championship. He went on to snatch four national age-group, 12 state, and three western division titles in the United States.
"I train hard all the time, but I am expecting tough opponents in Colombia," said Coo.
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