MANILA, Philippines -- Filipino surfers on Tuesday arrived safely in El Sunzai, El Salvador ahead of the 2021 ISA World Surfing Games, where they will look to secure their spots in the Tokyo Olympics.
The six Filipino surfers began training on Wednesday ahead of the event that runs from May 29 to June 6.
"Rest assured, Pilipinas Surfing is doing its best to train and compete internationally as well as focusing on the grassroots development," United Philippine Surfing Association president Dr. Raul Canlas said in a letter to Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William "Butch" Ramirez.
Three surfers will compete in the men's open shortboard: John Mark Tokong, Rogelio Esquievel Jr., and Edito Alcala Jr.
The Philippines also has three representatives in the women's open shortboard: Nilbie Blancada, Daisy Valdez, and Vea Estrellado.
Tokong was a bronze medalist in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, while Blancada won gold and Valdez grabbed the bronze in the competition two years ago.
The surfers face tall odds, however, as only one Asian Olympic spot per gender is at stake in the competition.
Nonetheless, the team is in good spirits as they prepare with over a week to go before the event.
The PSC has expressed its support for the surfing team, dedicating a budget of around P6.4 milion for equipment and related expenses.
"All equipment and uniform were provided on time with the assistance of the commission," Canlas said.