Philippines, 10 Jul 2020
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All-out now for PH Olympic goal

Hidilyn Diaz.

BEFORE weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz quietly strolled onto center stage to grab a silver medal in the 2016 Olympics, hopes for an Olympic medal used to be lumped on the Philippine national boxing team.

In fact, the previous medal won by the country before Diaz’s startling feat in Rio de Janeiro was courtesy of a boxer, Mansueto Velasco, who won a silver medal in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

There was no visible goad to prop up plucky Hidilyn in the last Olympiad.

For this year’s Olympics, the Philippine Olympic Committee has announced it’s seeking to qualify at least ten Filipino athletes to the Tokyo Summer Games.


There were those who felt the qualifying goal rather bold. But this was followed by an announcement by the national weightlifting association that it hopes to send a total of seven competitors to the Tokyo Olympics.

Meanwhile, Philippine Amateur Athletic Track and Field Association (Patafa) president Philip Juico said they won’t rest on achievements in 2019 as they push harder to qualify more athletes to the Tokyo Olympics.

“We have more work to do, I think there will be more qualifiers from athletics,” said Juico, citing trackster Kristina Knott, shot putter William Morrison, hurdles king Eric Cray, who all shone in the 30th SEA Games.


For the record, athletics did the honors of qualifying the first Filipino to Tokyo 2020 after EJ Obiena cleared 5.81 meters during the Street Meet in Chiara, Italy last September. (The last athletics medal won by the Philippines in the Olympics was the 400-m hurdles bronze by Miguel White during the 1936 Berlin Olympics.)

Weighlifting star Diaz herself has yet to formally qualify for Tokyo, although she’s considered a shoo-in based on her status and achievements.

As things stand, gymnast Carlos Yulo owns the strongest chance of soaring in Tokyo, following his gold medal win in floor exercise of the last world artistic gymnastic championship in Stuttgart, Germany.

Regarding boxing, which has gone bust in its Olympic sorties for over two decades, it hopes to ride on its sizzling performance in the Manila SEA Games, where it harvested a total of eight gold medals last month.

The frenzied drive to qualify in Tokyo 2020 is not surprising, following the dazzling finish at the summit by the Philippines in the last SEA Games.

What comes out of the Philippine campaign in the Tokyo Games will determine if Philippine sports has been properly prepared and fueled.

They won as one.

At the same time, didn’t they also profit and party as one?

A happy, honest and healthy New Year to all.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Recah Trinidad.

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