A lifestyle change leads Jayson Valdez to an unexpected stint at the Tokyo Olympics

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 20) – Outstanding Filipino shooting master Jayson Valdez is one of those looking for a healthier lifestyle amid the exercise challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Two weeks since the lockdown began, I started training because I didn’t expect the Olympics to come through,” Valdez shared his mindset when the health crisis began in March last year.

Valdez, 25, told CNN Philippines that he was eager to shed his excess pounds during the lockdown. He now weighs 80 kilos, down from 96 kilos at the beginning of the pandemic.

Little did he know that his lifestyle change would be a crucial part of his unexpected Olympic debut next month in Tokyo, Japan.

RELATED: PH shooter Jayson Valdez secures berth for Tokyo Olympics

At first, Valdez said his weight loss was intended for his entry into the military, which requires those who are in the drafting phase to be physically fit. He revealed he was offered to retire back in 2015, but made a final decision to join the military in January of this year.

On the side, Valdez continues to train at the army rifle range in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, before being deployed to Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija to complete his military training phases.

“I had already planned to return home this weekend. But I realized that I should really go home because I was told that I would be playing in the Olympics in Tokyo, ”said Valdez.

Valdez pointed out that his weight loss changed his consistency and performance on the shooting range, where he said he got higher scores during practice.

“It’s a different feeling to be physically fit because I’m training than the last time I neglected myself. In that one year God may have given it to me to change my lifestyle and activities in life, ”Valdez said.

[Translation: It’s a different kind of feeling that you’re physically fit because of my constant exercises than last time where I neglected myself in terms of weight. I think God gave me this whole year to change my lifestyle and other life activities.]

Despite being in the final part of his military draft, Valdez said he’ll need to put those aside first to focus on training for the Tokyo Olympics.

“Despite the circumstances, it’s no excuse that I don’t have enough time to train. My teammates always thought that I would find ways to improve myself as an athlete, so I will find ways to improve my performance before I compete in Tokyo, ”said Valdez.

Valdez becomes the first Filipino shooter to qualify for the Olympics since 2012 when Paul Brian Rosario competed in the men’s skeet event in London.

Valdez is aiming for the medal in the men’s 10-meter air rifle at the Tokyo Olympic Shooting Competitions, which will be held at the Asaka rifle range from July 24th to August 2nd.