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Get to know the Filipino athletes who qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympics

By Melanie Uson Published May 23, 2024 2:11 pm Updated May 27, 2024 4:46 pm

Only a few months left before we could witness another history in the Olympics.

The Philippines made a remarkable feat at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz brought home the country’s first-ever gold medal. Adding to the historic feat were boxers Eumir Marcial and Nesthy Petecio who bagged silver and bronze medals.

This year, several Filipino athletes were able to qualify for their respective sports and are vying for medals at the 2024 Paris Olympics, which is set from July 26 to Aug. 11 in France. 

As of writing, 12 Pinoy athletes qualified for this year’s Olympics. Get to know them below.

EJ Obiena
Photo from Ernest Obiena / Instagram

The 28-year-old Pole Vaulting star EJ Obiena is ranked second in the world in the men's pole vault,  per the World Athletics Organization. 

Ahead of the Paris Olympics, he earned gold in the Los Angeles Grand Prix in the United States on Sunday, May 19 (Philippine time). 

In June 2023, Obiena made a historic feat by clearing the six-meter barrier in Norway's Sparebanken Vest Bergen Jump Challenge, becoming the first Filipino and the only one in Asia to join the elite six-meter club

He was recognized as the Athlete of the Year by the San Miguel Corporation-Philippine Sportswriters Association in January 2024. 

Carlos Yulo 

Raising the Philippine flag in gymnastics, Carlos Yulo is revving up for his journey in the 2024 Olympics after recently bagging four gold medals in the Men’s Artistic Gymnastics Asian Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on Sunday, May 19. 

He secured a spot for the Paris Olympics in October 2023 after his podium finish in the men's floor exercise during the 2023 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Belgium. 

Yulo placed fourth in the vault competition at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. 

Aleah Finnegan 
Photo from Aleah Finnegan / Instagram

Making her mark in the industry, Filipino-American gymnast Aleah Finnegan became the first Filipina female gymnast to qualify for the Olympics. 

After planning to retire following the 2021 U.S. Gymnastics Championships, Aleah Finnegan was invited to compete for the Philippines in the 2022 Southeast Asian Games. She impressed with a haul of two gold medals and two silver medals.

Levi Jung-Ruivivar
Photo from Levi Jung-Ruivivar / Instagram

Another representative for gymnastics, Levi Jung-Ruivivar is also eyeing for the country’s win at this year’s Olympics. 

The 18-year-old secured her spot after her silver win in the women’s uneven bars at the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Cup Series in Doha, Qatar last April, making her the 10th Filipino athlete for the Paris Olympics.  

Eumir Marcial 
Photo from Eumir Marcial / Instagram

Filipino boxer Eumir Marcial secured his ticket to the Paris Olympics 2024 after he won the second round of the men's 80kg semi-finals at the 19th Asian Games finals in October 2023. 

This marks his major win after clinching the bronze medal in the Tokyo Olympics 2020.  

Marcial has also represented and bagged medals for the Philippines in the Southeast Asian Games in 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2022. 

Nesthy Petecio 
Photo from Nesthy Petecio / Instagram

Filipina boxer Nesthy Petecio is set to aim for greater heights once again as she will compete in the Paris Olympics. 

The 32-year-old athlete made a remarkable feat in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics after earning her silver medal, making her the first Filipina to win an Olympic medal in boxing.  

Aira Villegas
Photo by Federación Española de Boxeo / Facebook

Joining Nesthy in the boxing category is Filipina boxer Aira Villegas, who will make her Olympics debut after winning in the women’s 50 kg class with a unanimous decision of 5-0 last March. 

Hailing from Tacloban, the 28-year-old athlete has also represented the country in international competitions, such as the World Championships, Asian Games, SEA Games, and most recently the Boxam Elite Tournament in Spain where she won a gold medal.

Vanessa Sarno 
Photo by Jun Mendoza / The Philippine STAR

Rising weightlifter Vanessa Sarno secured her spot in the Paris Olympics following her win at the women’s 71kg event of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Cup in Phuket, Thailand in April. 

She set a record of lifting 110kg from her previous 108kg, as well as lifting 135kg in clean and jerk for a total of 245kg. This also helped her to maintain her spot in the top 10 of the IWF Olympic Qualification Ranking (OQR). 

The 20-year-old athlete is also a two-time SEA Games gold medalist.  

John Ceniza 
Photo by Getty Images

Cebuano weightlifter John Ceniza is also among the athletes who are eyeing the country’s gold in boxing. He qualified for the Paris Olympics after placing fourth at the International Weightlifting Federation World Cup in Thailand last April. 

He hoisted 300kg after 132kg from snatch and 168kg in clean and jerk.  

The Filipino boxer also holds the 6th spot in the Olympic Qualification Ranking (OQR). 

Elreen Ando 
Photo by Weightlifting House via Elreen Ando / Instagram

Another Philippine representative in weightlifting, Elreen Ando is set for her Olympics return this year. 

The 25-year-old weightlifter secured her spot after lifting 100kg in the snatch and 128kg in the clean-and-jerk having a total of 228kg lift, besting Hidilyn Diaz who hoisted a total of 224kg. 

Ando also set records at the 2023 SEA Games, where she bagged a gold medal. 

Joanie Delgaco 
Photo from Joanie Delgaco / Facebook

Making history ahead of the medals, Joanie Delgaco became the first Filipina rower to qualify for the Olympics following placing fourth at the World Rowing Asian and Oceanian Olympic Qualification Regatta in South Korea last April.  

Sam Catantan 
Photo from Sam Catantan / Instagram

Filipina fencer Sam Catantan secured her ticket to the Paris Olympics after her win at the Asia Oceania Zonal Olympic Qualifiers 2024 in Dubai last April. 

Aside from the upcoming major competition, the 22-year-old athlete also ended the country’s drought as she became the first Filipino fencer to qualify in the prestigious games, 32 years since Walter Torres who competed in 1992. 

She also brought home the country’s eighth gold medal in the 2022 SEA Games.