No Filipino thrower has ever made it to the Olympics for nearly half a century.
But at the pace William Morrison III has been improving, the Filipino-American shot put record-holder in the Southeast Asian Games is close to booking that ticket to the Tokyo Summer Games next year.
The 6-foot-3, 310-pound Morrison owns a personal best of 20.41 meters he established on June 22, 2019, in Bloomington, Indiana, and he’s about 0.7 m or 2 inches and 4 centimeters short of the 21.10m Olympic qualifying standard with nine months to go.
“I’m planning to participate in at least two tournaments before the end of the year as part of my preparations for the Olympics,” said Morrison, who is aiming to succeed Josephine dela Vina, the country’s last throwing ace, in the Olympics.
Dela Vina won the discus gold medal in the 1966 Asian Games in Bangkok and took part in the 1966 and 1970 Asian Games and in the 1964 (Tokyo), 1968 (Mexico) and 1972 (Munich) Olympics where she finished in the top 20.
No Filipino throwing athlete of Dela Vina’s caliber would come near to duplicating her feat until Morrison came along and captured the shot put gold and a silver in the discus during the 2019 Southeast Asian Games at New Clark City.
“The series of lockdowns [due to the coronavirus pandemic] prevented me from competing in top-level tournaments,” Morrison said.
In the next several weeks, Morrison will settle down in Kansas City with his personal coach Danny Capps in time for the reopening of the Olympics athletics qualifiers beginning on Dec. 1 until June 29, 2021.
Presently ranked 65th in the world despite the absence of competitions, the 23-year-old Morrison hopes to make the 32-man field in the Tokyo Olympics with 12 slots still up for grabs.
The next few months will be crucial for Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association bets seeking Tokyo Olympic berths.
Date: September 15, 2020 | By: June Navarro | Newspaper: Inquirer | Source: https://sports.inquirer.net/404085/olympic-slot-within-reach-of-morrison