Before weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz quietly stepped onto the stage to secure a silver medal at the 2016 Olympic Games, hopes were raised for an Olympic medal in the Philippine national boxing team.
In fact, the previous medal that the country won before Diaz’s surprising performance in Rio de Janeiro was thanks to a boxer, Mansueto Velasco, who won a silver medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
At the last Olympiad there was no visible incentive to support brave Hidilyn.
For this year's Olympic Games, the Philippine Olympic Committee has announced that it will qualify at least 10 Filipino athletes for the Tokyo Summer Games.
There were those who found the qualification gate to be brave. However, the National Weightlifting Association announced that it would send a total of seven participants to the Tokyo Olympics.
Meanwhile, Philip Juico, president of the Filipino Athletics and Athletics Association (Patafa), said they will not rest on their laurels in 2019 as they work harder to attract more athletes to the Tokyo Olympics to qualify.
"We have more to do, I think there will be more athletics qualifiers," said Juico, citing trackster Kristina Knott, shot putter William Morrison, and hurdler Eric Cray, all at 30. SEA Games shone.
Athletics qualified the first Filipino after Tokyo 2020 last September after EJ Obiena had reached 5.81 meters at the Street Meet in Chiara, Italy. (The last athletics medal the Philippines won at the Olympic Games was Miguel White's 400m hurdle bronze during the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games.)
Weightlifting star Diaz herself still has to officially qualify for Tokyo, although she is considered a contender due to her status and success.
From today's perspective, the gymnast Carlos Yulo has the greatest chance to ascend in Tokyo after winning a gold medal in floor exercises at the last World Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Stuttgart.
Regarding boxing, which has been bankrupt for more than two decades in Olympic use, the company hopes to win seven gold medals at the Manila SEA Games last month.
The raging urge to qualify in Tokyo 2020 is not surprising after the Philippines had a brilliant result at the last SEA games at the summit.
What emerges from the Filipino campaign at the Tokyo Games decides whether the Filipino sport has been properly prepared and practiced.
You won as one.
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A happy, honest and healthy New Year to everyone.
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