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National surfers gun for Tokyo tickets in El Salvador

Six Filipinos are riding the crest of the country’s Southeast Asian (SEA) Games triumph, competing for Tokyo Olympics slots starting Saturday in the 2021 International Surfing Association World Surfing Games in El Salvador.

As surfing makes its debut in the Olympics, John Mark Tokong, Rogelio Esquivel, Edito Alcala, Nilbie Blancada, Daisy Valdez and Vea Estrellado seek to qualify via the week-long meet along with surfers from 53 nations.

Head coach Ian Saguan said the country is mainly competing against Indonesia for the available slots for the region following the withdrawal of Vietnam and Malaysia.

During the 2019 SEA Games, the Philippines won two golds and two silvers, while Indonesia came up with two golds and a silver.

Blancada is competing in women’s longboard where she won gold during the SEA Games hosted by the country.

“It’s hard to make any predictions because no two waves are the same,” Saguan told Radyo Pilipinas in Filipino. “So it’s a bit of luck depending on the waves that would come their way and how they perform on them on competition day.”

The team has been in El Salvador since May 17 to test the waters of La Bocana and El Sunzal. “All I can say is that all our surfers are ready and capable of winning slots in Tokyo,” said Saguan.

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