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Mindanaoan athletes shine in Tokyo Olympics

Mindanaoan athletes shine in Tokyo

CALL IT DESTINY. But all the Mindanaoan athletes who joined the Tokyo Olympics 2020 brought home the beacon.

It all started with Hidilyn Diaz from Zamboanga City, now one of the strongest women weightlifters in the world. Diaz created history when she successfully snatched the gold after 97 years of failed attempts by hundreds of highly-trained Filipino athletes.

It was a heart-pumping 1-point lead for Diaz’s 224 final scores against the Chinese world record holder who has only 223 weightlifting scores. Diaz’s final attempt of 127kg made her clinched the overall champion of the 155kg category.

Diaz was only an ordinary member of the Philippine Airforce back home but God bestowed upon her an awesome talent in weightlifting. She also found the best support of coaches and support from the administration of incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte. Thus, it all sums up the country’s first-ever gold since joining the Olympics in 1924.

Carlo Paalam, 23, the pride of Cagayan de Oro just grabbed his bronze medal after demolishing the Olympic gold medalist from Uzbekistan’s Shakhobidin Zoirov.

On Thursday, Philippine time, Carlo is en route to winning the country’s first-ever gold medal if he is successful against the crowd favorite from Japan Ryomei Tanaka.

Paalam back then was a struggling teenager in Cagayan de Oro. He was a scavenger at the city’s landfill in Upper Dagong, Carmen in Cagayan de Oro, until he found boxing as his way to greatness.

While selling scrap metals he was seen by boxing trainer Arnold Pamisa who encourages him to try boxing and the sport might make him stay out of the hard life. Paalam was born in Talakag, Bukidnon, and poverty brought him to Cagayan de Oro to find greener pasture.  

Eumir Marcial, 25, another Filipino boxer from Lanzuran, Zamboanga City, is also aiming the gold in his weight category. Marcial scored a TKO against Armenian Arman Darchinyan which earned him a slot in his quest for the Olympic gold.

On Thursday, August 5, Marcial is going to face-off with Olympic boxing champion Oleksandr Khyzhniak of Ukraine in the semifinal at around 2:03 pm, Philippine time.

Like Hidilyn Diaz, Marcial is also a rank and file member of the Philippine Air Force.

Nesthy Petecio, from Santa Cruz, Davao del Sur, who has shown a lot of improvement in women’s boxing, took home the silver. But the boxing team of Petecio lodged a complaint against the poor and unprofessional handling of the event which they thought Nesthy won the gold against her Japanese opponent.

But then, Nesthy still celebrates with the entire Filipino fans as the first Filipino woman ever to win silver in Filipino’s boxing history in the Olympics.

Mansueto Velasco grabbed the first-ever silver medal in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. The first Filipin to win a silver medal since the country joined Olympics in 1924.

Joel Escol
Joel Escolhttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCK_sKdGFs0ewIh9R-iAskDg
Joel Calamba Escol is a journalist in the Philippines for more than 20 years. Currently, he is the Managing Editor of Mindanao Daily News, the biggest and most-widely read newspaper in Southern Philippines. He is also known as Noypi Vlogger in Youtube. You can follow him on the following social networking sites below.
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