‘Lone Ranger’ eyes Olympic gold

Posted at 05/10/2012 2:12 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Based on numbers, Filipino shotgun expert Brian Rosario has a decent shot at the gold in the coming London Olympics.

The 29-year-old Rosario has been shooting so well lately that if he holds on, he could nail that elusive gold for the Philippines.

Rosario is the only Filipino entry to the shooting competitions in London, and this early he’s being branded as the “Lone Ranger.”

He told yesterday’s PSA Forum at Shakey’s UN Avenue that he’s ready to do battle with the best in the world, and he’s confident he’ll do well.

“I will do everything to win the gold,” said Rosario, who learned just three days ago of his entry to the Olympics via the IOC quota scheme.

Being a wild card entry, however, doesn’t mean that it was given to him on a silver platter by the International Shooting Sport Federation.

Rosario deserves to be there because he has met the minimum qualifying score (MQS) for the coming Olympics six times since the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

He’s been hitting 122 out of 125 targets in the skeet lately, during in the 2011 World Cup of Shotgun in Belgrade, and recently in a local tournament.

Vincent Hancock, a sergeant in the US Army, won the gold in the Beijing Olympics with 121 points in the shoot-off before hitting 24 of 25 targets in the finals

“It means that statistically there is a chance. Brian has hit 122 a couple of times. And I believe he can do it in the Olympics,” said the Philippine National Shooting Association president Mikee Romero.

“As long as you shoot in the 120s anything is possible. Of course, there’s pressure, but you must learn how to control them. Just mind yourself, and not the others, even if he’s the world champion or the Olympic champion. Just be yourself,” said Rosario.

“Brian is at his peak. With 80 days to the Olympics, we will now focus on polishing his shooting. We can send him to the Middle East or Europe to train until the Olympics.”

For his part, Romero has already donated P100,000 from his own pocket to help Rosario in his training.

In London, the 50 skeet entries will shoot 125 targets (25 per shoot) with the top six making it to the finals, where they will be made to shoot 25 targets each. In case of ties, shoot-offs will be staged.

“Matira matibay ito. You cannot miss one target in each of your shoot (25 targets),” said Romero.

The PNSA named four candidates for the quota place, including Tac Padilla, Hagen Topacio, Jason Valdez and Rosario, but the ISSF awarded it to the skeet 125 event.

But Romero said even if the choice fell in their own hands, they would have awarded it to Rosario, the hottest shooter in the country today.

“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.

Retired Col. Danilo Gamboa, the PNSA secretary-general, said it’s time to rally behind Rosario.

“This is our chance to win the gold in the Olympics. Let’s back him up,” said Gamboa, adding that Rosario, a double-gold winner in the 2005 Manila SEA Games, is just as deserving.

“The scores speak for themselves, and they speak very loudly. We did not choose him but we all agreed he should be it. Nobody even came close to his scores. There was no question,” he said.