Last Updated on May 6, 2021 by pirie

Filipino Track and Field

NB. This article is now out of date as Ernest Obiena has qualified and Olympic standards have increased. The marks are of the 2016 Olympic Games Standards.

As they have now done away with the B-Standard. This list has to be thoroughly revised.

4 Filipino Track and Field athletes on this list. In 2016 Eric Cray and Mary Joy Tabal hit the Olympic standards. Marestella Torres also qualified again. Isidro Del Prado, whose time of 45.57 won him Asian Titles, is now off the list with the new standard of 45.40. His time was good enough until 2012 to still qualify for the Olympic Games.

Filipino Track and Field Details

It’s no secret that the Philippines has fallen greatly behind other countries on the international stage, particularly the Olympics. As time goes on, this trend continues to unfold, with our best athletes falling further and further behind the elusive Olympic Gold Medal.

Miguel White
Miguel white
Simeon Toribio

The Philippines has won 2 medals in track and field. But the last medal was outside present memory almost 80 years ago. They came in 1932 from High Jumper Simeon Toribio and 1936 from 400 Hurdler Miguel White.

The number of Olympians in Athletics has been declining to the point where we now rely on token entries, apart from Marestella recently, who qualified.

The First time the Philippines played in the Olympics was in 1924. As we were new to the Olympic movement, the only Olympian was sprinter David Nepomuceno in the 100m and 200m dash. This increased to two in 1928 with Toribeo and Sprinter Anselmo Gonzaga.

Toribio would go on win bronze in 1932 as the sole entry. Six athletes, including Miguel White, went to the Olympics in 1936. After the war in 1948, only one. And sent a large team of 13 in 1952, all men. 4 in 1956—7 in 1960, 11 in 1964, 6 in 1984, including De Vega and Del Prado. But from 1996 onwards and sent only 2. In 2016 and sent 3 athletes.

Below are the Olympic standards from the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Men’s events Women’s events
Event Entry mark Event Entry mark
100 m 10.16 100 m 11.32
200 m 20.50 200 m 23.20
400 m 45.40 400 m 52.20
800 m 1:46.00 800 m 2:01.50
1500 m 3:36.20 1500 m 4:07.00
5000 m 13:25.00 5000 m 15:24.00
10,000 m 28:00.00 10,000 m 32:15.00
110 m hurdles 13.47 100 m hurdles 13.00
400 m hurdles 49.40 400 m hurdles 56.20
3000 m steeplechase 8:30.00 3000 m steeplechase 9:45.00
Marathon 2:19:00 Marathon 2:45:00
20 km walk 1:24:00 20 km walk 1:36:00
50 km walk 4:06:00 N/A N/A
Long jump 8.15 Long jump 6.70
Triple jump 16.85 Triple jump 14.15
High jump 2.29 High jump 1.93
Pole vault 5.70 Pole vault 4.50
Shot put 20.50 Shot put 17.75
Discus throw 65.00 Discus throw 61.00
Hammer throw 77.00 Hammer throw 71.00
Javelin throw 83.00 Javelin throw 62.00
Decathlon 8100 Heptathlon 6200
4 × 100 m relay Top 8 at IWR +
8 from top lists
4 × 100 m relay Top 8 at IWR +
8 from top lists

Filipino Track and Field

Only four athletes in Filipino Track and Field have made the current Olympic games’ current standards.

Lydia De Vega

Filipino Track and Field

She is the only athlete to achieve a modern A Standard with her best time and still a national record of 11.28; this was achieved in 1987, some 27 years ago, and is still good to make it to semi-finals in the current day and age.

11.28 (1987) would still make the Olympics 28 years later as the standard is 11.32. In 2012 this was an Olympic A Standard (11.29). However, her time of 23.37 in the 200 meters would not be good enough for today (23.20). Surprisingly De Vega, after over 30 years, still holds the 100 and 200 women’s records.

Marestella Torres

Marestella Torres best of 6.71m is close to the A Standard of 6.75m but it surpasses the B Standard of 6.65m. At the 2011 SEA Games Marestella leapt 6.71m and qualified for the Olympic Games in 2012 one of the only non-wild cards in a long time.
Filipino Track and Field

The best of 6.71m is close to the A Standard of 6.75m, but it surpasses the B Standard of 6.65m. At the 2011 SEA Games, Marestella leaped 6.71m and qualified for the Olympic Games in 2012, one of the only non-wild cards in a long time. Torres was a ‘legitimate qualifier’ in 2012, not a token delegate as we had relied on before leap 6.71m at the 2011 SEA Games. Her mark was well above the 6.65 meter B Standard requirement in 2012. Marestella, who is the only active athlete left of these three at 34, will need to repeat her performance from the 2011 SEA Games.

Eric Cray

Filipino Track and Field
Filipino Track and Field

On the other hand, he has achieved the qualifying standard for the 2016 Olympics in the 400 Hurdles three times. In 2012 we can say, De Vega, Del Prado, and Torres would have qualified. In 2016 it was De Vega, Torres, and Cray. As the standards are increasing faster than our level of performance, we even have to scour the history of athletics in the Philippines books to draw up an interesting article.

Mary Joy Tabal

Filipino Track and Field
The Peoples Champion Mary Joy Tabal Returns to Cebu to defend her title. Filipino Track and Field

When the Olympic standard was lowered from 2h42 to 2h45 for the Women’s Marathon, Mary Joy Tabal got the target running 2h43 at the Scotia Bank, which saw her make it to the Olympics despite having just been the SEA Games silver medalist leading up to this.

Let me start by asking, scroll down, and look at these standards? Of the Philippines’s current track athletes, who are most likely to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics? Perhaps will cover this next time.

Feel free to comment and share our article, and of course, bookmark our site for future reference.

How Many Filipinos qualify for Rio 2016?

I am going to ask not just the athletic community and the sports community

How many athletes are going to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics from the Philippines?


The Question comes in light of the headlines in the Manila Bulletin, Tribune, and Inquirer. And other leading newspapers. So I will tease the media people with my insight here.

As the Philippines has very few qualifiers which are surprising as it’s a country of 101 million (as of 2015). I will also cover other sports.

Who is Qualified?

As of now, only SEA Games 400 Hurdle Record Holder Cray is definitely qualified. In Swimming, Chloe Kennedy Isleta has surpassed the Olympic B Standard in the 400 Individual Medley; however, the meet may not have been an Olympic qualifying meet. Weightlifting 2013

SEA Games Silver medallist Hildilyn Diaz’s performance in her new trimmer weight category is good enough for a top-four finish.

Important to note Cray and Isleta are both Fil-Heritage athletes and Hidilyn Diaz comes via local programs. However, Cray has participated in the 2013 and 2014 Philippine National Games held in Pasig.

You can read the information on these other athletes in the articles below

Hidilyn Diaz in full focus.
Chloe Isleta
Chloe Kennedy Isleta

Other Athletes in Athletics

Marestella Torres on her way to a 6.46m seasons best now going for Gold at the Asian Games.
Marestella Torres

According to the news, PATAFA has had plans to include 8 athletes in total (presumably Cray). In their hopes for Olympic Qualification with the deadlines listed at the bottom of an article.

The closest qualifiers are three female athletes, 17-year old SEA Games Champion Kayla Richardson (23.67 needs 23.20) and Long Jumpers SEA Games Record Holder Marestella Torres, 34 (needs 6.70m, PB is 6.71,  2011, 6.53 this year). And possibly Katherine Khay Santos, 25 (needs 6.70m, PB is 6.40m), Bronze at 2011 SEA Games Long Jump. Also, SEA Games Silver medalist Mary Joy Tabal, 26, whose PB of 2:48.00 is from 2013, will need to bring her time down by 6 minutes to 2:42.00.

How Many Filipinos qualify for Rio 2016
Emerson and Ernest Obiena.

In the Men’s SEA Games, Silver medalist 20-year-old Ernest Obiena. Who will need to bring his PB from 5.30 to 5.70 and is currently undergoing training in Italy?

While the good news for all of the above except maybe Marestella. Is that if they didn’t make it in 2016. in 2020 they will still be young enough to have another go. Kayla and Ernest will be 21 and 25 in 2020. And Santos will be 30. And Tabal 31.

The qualifying period for the 10,000 m, marathon, walks, and combined events start from January 1, 2015, to July 11, 2016. While for the remaining events it is from May 1, 2015, to July 11, 2016

Athletics will run from August 12 to 21 in Rio.

Olympic Standards change and updates for the Philippines

Entry Standards (as approved by IAAF Council in April 2015)
(Updated 26 November 2015 – Amendments in red)

11.32 100m 10.16
23.20 200m 20.50
52.20 400m 45.40
2:01.50 800m 1:46.00
4:07.00 1500m 3:36.20
15:24.00 5000m 13:25.00
32:15.00 10,000m 28:00.00
2:45:00 Marathon 2:19:00
9:45.00 3000m SC 8:30.00
13.00 100mH/110m H 13.47
56.20 400m H 49.40
1.93 High jump 2.29
4.50 Pole vault 5.70
6.70 Long jump 8.15
14.15 Triple jump 16.85
17.75 Shot put 20.50
61.00 Discus throw 65.00
71.00 Hammer throw 77.00
62.00 Javelin throw 83.00
6200 Heptathlon/Decathlon 8100
1:36:00 20km race walk 1:24:00
50km race walk 4:06:00

Qualification period
 10,000m, Marathon, Race Walk, and Combined Events: 1 January 2015 to 11 July
 All other events: 1 May 2015 to 11 July 2016

Unqualified Athletes

 NOCs with no male or female qualified athlete or relay team will be allowed to enter their best male athlete and their best female athlete in one athletic event each, except the Combined Events, 10,000m and 3000m Steeplechase.

 This applies equally to unqualified female entries from a NOC with qualified males,
and vice versa.

 Acceptance of unqualified entries in Field Events and Road Events will be at the discretion of the IAAF Technical Delegates, based on the technical standard of the athlete and the numbers of qualified athletes in the respective event. To allow the IAAF Technical Delegates to assess the technical level of such athletes, and must submit a specific application form indicating the event in which the entry is requested and the proof of the technical level and international participation of the nominated athlete to the IAAF. The IAAF shall subsequently confirm, in writing to NOCs, with a copy to the Rio 2016 Sports Entries Department, the approval or otherwise of the entry of the specified athlete(s).

 The application forms of all unqualified athletes must be submitted by NOCs to the IAAF no later than 4 July 2016.

What this all means


Eric Cray is the only athlete to qualify from Athletics with 49.12, 49.40, and 49.40. The standard is 49.40 for 400 Hurdles.

In Men’s, the next most likely candidate is Ernest John Obiena in Pole Vault; he improved from 5.00m to 5.45m in 2015 and, having just turned 20, is a relatively young vaulter who doesn’t reach their prime until they hit their 30s. EJ’s success was greatly due to his and his father/coach Emerson’s trip to train with Coach Vitaly in Italy, the former coach of Sergey Bubkha. He is currently training in Poland to hit the required 5.70m to qualify for the Olympic games.

One Woman is allowed for Filipino Track and Field.


As per the IAAF highlighted in red. We are allowed one wild card woman if no women qualify.

In the Women’s, the strongest candidate is Kayla Anise Richardson in the 200m Dash 23.67s in the SEA Games heats, with the standard at 23.20. The following reasons put Kayla ahead.

  1. She is the only female athlete to win a gold medal at the SEA Games. In the past, the PATAFA has chosen the SEA Games gold medalist, e.g., Marestella Torres was selected for the 2008 and 2012 (actually hit the standard this year) Olympic Games.
  2. She is the closest in performance in terms of IAAF Points
  3. She is a young athlete at 17 who will gain experience and be around for a few more Olympic cycles.

The next strongest candidate is Mary Joy Tabal, who benefits from the Olympic Standard being dropped from 2h43 to 2h45. Tabal clocked 2h48.16 at the Milo Marathon, and she will have one more race in March to prepare for qualification.

Jumpers Marestella Torres (PB 6.71 2011) and Katherine Khay Santos (who is training in the United States) are chasing the 6.70m mark. At the SEA Games, Torres, who returned to the sport after giving birth, leaped 6.41m, and Santos tied her personal best with 6.40m for third and fourth.

As the cut-off for the Olympics is July 11, it is still possible that any of the above women listed or even some who are outside chances, such as Jessica Lyn Barnard (Steeples), could move beyond or closest to the standard.

Who has hit IAAF Standards for Philippines Athletics in the Olympic Games since 2000?

IAAF Standards for Philippines Athletics

Article by Andrew Pirie

ATFS Statistician 

IAAF Standards for Philippines Athletics
IAAF Standards for Philippines Athletics

In conclusion, in the last 6 Olympic Games, the Philippines has had 4 athletes who made it past the IAAF qualifying standards, not as wildcards in Athletics. Gabito, Torres, Cray, and Tabal. Data wasn’t available pre-2000. IAAF Standards for Philippines Athletics. In the History of sports in the Philippines since 2000, these are some examples.

2000 Sydney

Lerma Buluitan Gaibto

Lerma Buluitan Gabito Women’s 100m 11.60 B (ran 11.3ht, which isn’t counted hand times not valid, 11.61, wild card)

Eduardo Buenavista 3K Steeples 8.30.70 (career-best was 8.40, so went as a wildcard)

2004 Athens

Lerma Buluitan Gabito Women’s Long Jump 6.55 B (6.56m in Colombo)

Eduardo Buenavista Men’s Marathon 2.18.00 B (best time of 2.18.44 Phi Record at Beppu Marathon)

2008 Beijing

Henry Dagmil of the Philippines reacts during the Men’s Long Jump final at the SEA Games in Nakhon Ratchasima on December 10, 2007. Dagmil won the gold medal. REUTERS/Zainal Abd Halim (THAILAND)

Henry Dagmil Men’s Long Jump  8.05m B (7.99m wild card)

Marestella Torres
Marestella Torres

Marestella Torres Women’s Long Jump 6.60m B (around 6.56m didn’t reach 6.71 till 2011)

2012 London

Mo Farah of England 2012 Olympic Champion congratulates Rene Herrera, Philippines who finished last heats in the 5k

Rene Herrera 5K (wildcard)

Marestella Torres Women’s Long Jump 6.70m (6.71m 2011)

2016 Rio

Eric CrayEric Shauwn Cray Men’s 400 Hurdles Standard 49.40 (ran several times below this, the fastest being 48.98)

Mary Joy Tabal
Mary Joy Tabal

Mary Joy Tabal Women’s Marathon 2.45.00 (ran 2.43.10)

Marestella Torres Long Jump 6.70m (leaped 6.72m)

2016 Rio Olympic Games Qualifiers in Athletics

Aug 14, 2017

2016 Rio Olympic Games Qualifiers in Athletics
2016 Rio Olympic Games Qualifiers in Athletics
Please note
  1. There is no longer an A and a B Standard. Just one standard which is similar to the world championship standard.
  2. There is only one wild card athlete. No longer one for men and one for women as before
  3. As Eric Cray has already qualified for the 400 Hurdles, anyone else who wants to be sent to the Olympics must hit the qualifying standards.

Eric Shauwn Cray – 400 Hurdles 49.12, 49.15 & 49.40 (achieved the qualifying mark three times)

Mary Joy Tabal – 2h43 / 2h45 Marathon

Marestella Torres 6.72m / 6.70m Long Jump

Rio 2016 Olympic Games entry standards

care of


By Andrew Pirie

Andrew was elected Vice President of the Association of Track and Field Statisticians in 2020 after being a member for 7 years. He has worked as a PSC Consultant and Research Assistant from 2013-2015, Consultant, and Sprint Coach at Zamboanga Sports Academy from 2015-2017. And Currently is Consultant Coach with VMUF 2021- Current editor and chief of, and has recently done consultancy work for Ayala Corp evaluating the Track and Field Program. Coaches Sprints, Middle and Jump events he is  Level 3 Athletics Australia Coaching Certification in Sprints and Hurdles. Currently working towards a Masters Degree in Education. He can be contacted on [email protected] You can find more information on Coaching here

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