Barriga, Caluag picked to end PH medal drought


MARC Anthony Barriga takes a bite of his gold medal

(The author is sports editor of the Philippines Daily Inquirer)

LONDON—The chief of mission of the 11-man Philippine delegation is basically looking at only two possible sources of Philippine medals at the London Olympics here.

Manny Lopez, also the Philippine Olympic Committee vice president, said he sees just boxing’s Mark Barriga and BMX racing’s Daniel Caluag as the two athletes who could end the country’s medal drought in three Olympics.

“They have a chance and we are praying that Lady Luck also smiles on them,” said Lopez late Thursday night. “Barriga and Caluag are two gifted athletes who just could spring a surprise.”

Barriga’s first-round opponent in boxing’s light flyweight division would not be known until late Friday night (Saturday morning). Boxing official Ed Picson said his ward could have a stronger chance of progressing into the later rounds if he does not draw any of the weight category’s top three, including defending Olympic champion Zhou Ziming of China.

Incidentally, it was Barriga’s defeat to Zhou in an Olympic qualifier in Uzbekistan last year that landed the Filipino a berth in the Games. The international boxing federation, in a qualification quirk, put Barriga in the Olympics for losing to the tournament champion (Zhou).

No other Filipino boxer—man or woman—managed to nail an Olympic spot, with featherweight Charly Suarez getting closest to qualification by settling for the silver in another tournament that rewarded the gold medalist a London berth.

Caluag, the Filipino-American who reigned for four years as the United States No. 1 BMX rider, earned his spot in the Games by accumulating enough points in the international circuit. He will be handicapped, though, by his unfamiliarity with the race course.

Shunned by a secretive US team at its practice course in Chula Vista, California,
Caluag went to the Netherlands for last-minute training. He will be the last Filipino athlete to check at the Olympic Village here.

“I believe Caluag knows what to expect from his rivals,” said Lopez.

His biggest opponents will come from the British and US teams. The Americans won half of the gold medals at stake in cycling in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

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  • Diepor

    If there was a competition for the best karaoke singer we would win.

  • mangdo

    Kaya lang,,, what prevails in the Phils. is t.v. contest ” Little Miss Philippines”… Talentadong Pinoy”…and other contest that is not valued in other countries…when we think of having an Olympic heroes in the future,,,,we must have resources, the right people, coaches and the like…otherwise time comes that our country has no more people to send as Olympic qualifier..athletes….mahiya naman tayo,,,out of almost 100 million population only we can send only 10 athletes??? how pity…

  • mangdo

    Training hard for Olympic  qualifier athlete is not that easy….big countries train their athletes form the very beginning or early  age,,, training here is very tough as we can see the Russian Volleyball team playing in the Phils. many years ago…the coach is treating them like robots that they perhaps cannot say no to his coaching….during my contract at Libya where our employers are the Finland company Makrotalo Oy…they bring their children and at the early age they practice moto cross, in Libya…perhaps not even 10 yrs old..I mean if we have this kind of training, we can expect Olympic qualifier athletes in the long run….even in Russia…a mother delivering birth is submerge half of her body in water so that the baby will be met by the water and the lungs of the baby will be practiced how to breath…thinking that the baby will be on the list of Olympic athlete in the future…do you think we can do this in the Philippines??? and it needs big budget….political will…discipline….and host of other reasons….

    • Diepor

      Delivering in water is a normal and natural way to give birth , it has nothing to do with training babies for the olympics,were do you have your info from?
      There is no reason why Philippines could not have a team in many disiplines. do you think the runners from Africa has a big budget. we need to be better in supporting the kids in theit training.

  • Bonggebongge

    Pabongahan ng mga Artista, Bakla, Reporters, chismosa at cjismoso, pagalingan at pabilisan ng txt, patagalan sa Facebook, payabangan, pakapalan ng mukha, pagalinan mangurakot sa kaban ng bayan, palakasan ng boses sa mga rally. atb. Sana mya international event na ganto parang olympics dito dalubhasa at magaling ang pinoy eh…

  • Platypus09

    Full participation in any Olympics seems to be an impossible dream for us to achieve.

    I think we, Filipinos, don’t think Olympics as a global contest that we need to participate.

    We don’t want to lose first of all, and if we do, we will get discouraged. That is our culture
    which is not what an Olympic spirit is all about.

    It is global sports contest that calls for sportmanships, improvements to countries’ competitive sports and camaraderie with other delegates from around the world.

    Plus, players learn from each other and coaches learn from other coaches and players from around the world. It is a good thing.

    What is important is to participate in as many sports we can and compete the best we can, win or lose.

    Our low mentality to achieve medals at the Olympics shy us from thinking of working hard or train hard to participate in the Olympics.

    What appalled me while watching the Opening Ceremony in the TV is the fact the small island countries like Trinidad and Tobago with less than 2 million population is sending more or less 30 QUALiFIED OLYMPIANS.

    While the Philippines has 100 million population and we only send 11 Olympians to London.

    There is always a question why is our country like this and what is going on.

    We know that winning an Olympic medal makes us Filipinos proud. That should be a source of patriotic pride.

    But are we working hard enough to produce Olympians, if not Olympic winners?

    The answer is a big NO.

    It could be that we have been very busy in taking care of our families since we have so many children in our households.

    But there are countries like ours such with so many population or children as Pakistan and Turkey but are sending many Olympians to London.

    These countries prepare their children to grow up and love all kinds of sports by participating in all of them such as swimming, track and field, soccer/football, gymnastics, etc.

    But what about us? What do our children do? Instead of practicing tennis, soccer, cycling, kayaking, and other competitive sports, they are on the streets playing patintero and other trivial games.

    Can we not start training our children in competitive sports and start aiming to become Filipino Olympians someday?

    Some of our BOYS are becoming more effeminates because they always see BEAUTY PAGEANTS every where and regularly. There is something wrong with that picture as well I think.

    If we don’t do something about the picture or organize training and events that motivate our children to compete hard and at the Olympics someday, our country will be seen a LOSER with no participation at international sports like Olympics and that will not be a good reputation for us.

    I am hoping things will change as far as raising our children to engage to competitive sports at an early age like most European countries and the USA, and compete at the Olympics to bring us Olympic medals ten years from now, to say the least.

  • Mamerto

    Why not “pick” those Olympic officials to end Ph medal drought..?
    After all they spend more, per capita, than the athletes that do the hard work.

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