Costa Rican Olympian field now 8 athletes wide

June 20, 2008

Two more Costa Rican athletes qualified for the Summer Olympics in Beijing, expanding the Tico team to eight competitors.

Marianela Quesada, who will participate in the 50-meter freestyle, and Gabriela Traña, a marathoner, qualified through Wild Card entries.

They will join Mario Montoya (200-meter freestyle), Nery Brenes (400-meter dash), Allan Segura (20-kilometer race walk), Kristopher Moitland (Taekwondo heavy-weight), Federico Ramírez (mountain biking) and Henry Raabe (road cycling) in the August games.

Most Costa Rican athletes qualified for the games through their performance at previous Olympic Games or tournaments. Wild Card entries are based on recommendations made by individual sports federations to governing Olympic committees, explained Josabeth Azofeifa, spokeswoman for the National Olympic Committee (CON).

Raabe and Ramírez were also Wild Card entries.

The committee estimated that 10 to 12 athletes would qualify for the Beijing Games, running Aug. 8-24.

Azofeifa said more athletes could still qualify in the remaining month.

The Costa Rican government promised to provide 70 million colones (about $136,000) to Olympians to pay for their training expenses in anticipation of the August games. CON should receive a response from the Comptroller General’s Office this week on the disbursement of funds, Azofeifa said.

The Pan-American Sports Organization also offered ¢25 million (almost $50,000) for scholarships to help cover the athletes’ costs, but have not delivered yet, Azofeifa said.

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