MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines Amateur Track and Field Association clarified Thursday that Southeast Asian Games long jump queen Marestella Torres is going to the London Olympics not as a token entry but as a legitimate qualifier.
Patafa president Go Teng Kok said the 30-year-old Torres surpassed the Olympic Games’ B-standard with her victory in the SEA Games last November.
“She qualified after the Indonesia SEA Games,” said Go. “That goes to show that she’s a real Olympic-caliber athlete.”
Torres’ 6.71-meter jump, a new SEA Games record, surpassed the 6.65m B-standard set for the London Games by the International Athletics Associations Federation. It was actually just 0.04m short of the A-standard of 6.75m.
That made her the second Filipino athlete to secure an Olympic slot after boxer Mark Anthony Barriga, who qualified in the lightflyweight division in last year’s world qualifying in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Under Olympic rules, a country is allowed to field two athletes each in track and field and swimming.
Torres, the 2009 Asian champion, will be making her third Olympic appearance, but this time based on her own merit.
Go said he had asked the IAAF if the Patafa could still send two more athletes.
The other athletics bet is five-time SEA Games 3,000m steeplechase champion Rene Herrera.
The 32-year-old Herrera has a personal best of 8:52.23 he established in the SEA Games in Palembang. But the time was way slower than the B-standard of 8:32.00. The IAAF A-standard is 8:23.10.