Philippines Volcanoes eye Olympic and SEA Games glory

Olympic glory and going for gold at the Southeast Asian Games will be the two main goals for the Philippines men’s sevens team in 2019.

“This will be one of the busiest years to date for the Volcanoes Sevens,” Philippine Rugby Football Union general manager Jake Letts reported the Philippine Star newspaper in Manila.

“The Volcanoes will be eyeing 2020 Tokyo Olympic qualification as a top priority. The top team in Asia will directly qualify for the Olympics and we are currently ranked third so there’s a genuine chance of reaching the Olympics.”
With Japan as hosts getting an automatic berth in the 12-team men’s rugby sevens competition at the Olympics, it will be mainly a battle between Hong Kong, Philippines, South Korea and Sri Lanka to clinch the place reserved for Asia at the Olympic qualifiers in Incheon, South Korea on November 23-24.

The winners will earn a direct entry to the Olympics while the second and third-placed teams will go into a 12-team repechage tournament against opposition from the other continents with only the winner advancing to Tokyo.

The Volcanoes Sevens team who will also be eyeing a gold medal at the SEA Games, will kick off the season by vying as one of two Asian teams qualified for the prestigious Hong Kong Sevens from April 5-7, where a berth to the World Series is at stake. 

This will be followed by another stint in three-legged Asian Sevens Series.

“The SEA Games in Clark (city) will also be an important event for the Volcanoes with another gold medal for the Philippines an important goal,” Letts said.

The Philippines won the SEA Games gold medal in 2015 but on the last occasion, in 2017, they finished a disappointing fourth with Malaysia running out champions.

The Philippines Women’s team will also embark on a spirted quest for glory, hoping to sustain the charge from their runners-up finish in the Asia Trophy Series Division Two Sevens competition last year.

“The Lady Volcanoes will aim for a podium finish at the SEA Games,” Letts added.

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