The continuing search for the country’s first Olympic gold may finally come to an end in the 2012 London Olympics on July 29 to 31 when skeet 125 shooter Brian Rosario takes center stage.
The 29-year old Rosario is a lucky wild card entry granted by the International Shooting Sport Federation, according to Philippine National Shooting Association (PNSA) president Mikee Romero.
Romero told the Tuesday Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum that Rosario is currently the best Filipino shooter after hitting six times the minimum qualifying Olympic score of 120 since the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Rosario was a double gold medalist in the 2005 Manila Southeast Asian Games, but what’s more important is he has already shot the 120 score during the Italian World Cup of shotgun while the gold winner’s mark was 122.
“He is a strong candidate for gold in the London Summer Olympic Games,” said Romero, who has personally donated P100,000 for Rosario’s training in Europe or the Middle East within 80 days before the July 27 to August 12 Olympic starts.
Actually, there were four more candidates, namely, Hagen Topacio, Sydney Olympian Jethro Dionisio, Beijing Olympian Erik Ang and 17-times SEA Games pistol shooter Nathaniel “Tac” Padilla for the wildcard entry quota but Rosario simply came out on top with his superb performance in the skeet 125 event.
“I will do everything to win the gold,” said Rosario, stressing that he needs mental toughening to hit 120-above score to get into the six-man semis.
“Anything is possible as long as you shoot in the 120s which I have already accomplished. There is pressure against the world’s best, but I must learn to control myself because it’s me competing against myself. I should not be rattled by my opponent, whether he is an Olympic or World champion.”
Romero said he strongly hopes that Rosario would come home with the gold medal even as May 8 is his last day as PNSA president.
“When Brian is through with his London Olympics campaign, that’s the time for me to decide if I should run again as head of the shooting association. I’m not totally closing the possibility if I’m still needed but, indeed, his performance would affect my decision,” said Romero.
Top PNSA officials were one in saying that the young and veteran hotshot is the best bet we could send to this year’s Olympics.
“If there was any bet we ourselves would choose for shooting, there was no one else but Brian. He’s the best ranked shooter among all the good shooters we have,” said PNSA vice president Gay Corral.
“This is our chance to win the gold in the Olympics. Let’s back him up,” said PNSA secretary-general, Ret. Col. Gamboa, adding that Rosario’s scores speak loudly for themselves, and nobody could question because no one came close to his numbers.
Team Philippines Chef De Mission Manny Lopez said, “We are very proud to have Brian in our team. With proper motivation, he will hit his golden target. We know he has the talent to compete against the best of them as he shoots for that very elusive Olympic medal.”