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Athletics body pushes for Paris Olympics universality berth for Hoffman

Lauren Hoffman will most likely get a universality slot to the Paris Olympics. 

The Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association has entered Hoffman’s name as an official representative of the Philippines, next to the country’s top pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena.

The 24-year-old Hoffman, whose entry now awaits official confirmation from World Athletics, got picked after she joined six women’s 400-meter hurdle events last year.

This earned Hoffman enough points to be in contention for Olympic qualification.

With the outdoor season set to resume by April, the Virginia-based Hoffman now has world quota rank of no. 31, three ahead of Robyn Brown (34), who is from Chino Hills, California.

“We entered her name in the (Olympic qualification) system, for a change of status. Now, we wait for formal word from World Athletics,” said PATAFA secretary general Jasper Tanhueco.

Under the universality rule, National Olympic Committees may enter one male athlete and one female athlete if they have no athletes of that gender meeting the entry standard.

A total of 40 will be picked by the International Association Athletics Federation to be part of the Paris meet.

Before Hoffman was signed in for a universality slot, she and Brown needed stay within qualification ranking range or hit the entry standard time of 54.85 seconds during the indoor season between July 2023 to June 2024.

When the outdoor season starts late this year, Hoffman will see action in four IAAF meets to earn points and maybe the hit the entry standard time.

Tanhueco said the PATAFA seeks to have three Philippine representatives in the Paris Olympics, with Obiena already qualified.

John Cabang Tolentino is seeking Olympic qualification in the men’s 110-meter hurdles, with his ranking now up at 30, from 37 last week.

Tolentino is set to join the World Indoor Championships set to start on March 1, with Obiena.

Recently, Hoffman obliterated the Philippine national record in the women’s indoor 400-meter run, when she finished second in the heats at 53.71 seconds at the Clemson Paw Invitationals at the Clemson Indoor Track & Field Complex in South Carolina. — Peter Atencio

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