Honor also the pillars and pioneers
Nothing clear on how Filipino athletes will fare in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics this year.
Nothing new, really; uncertainty has always been the theme of Philippine participation in the Olympics these past many misdirected years.
Our last Olympic medal, a silver, came in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics yet, courtesy of boxer Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco, who was clearly cheated out of the gold in his final bout.
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Boxing, which has always been the source of Philippine hope and pride in the Olympics, is however hard-pressed to produce an entry in this year’s competition, after missing the chance in earlier qualifying tournaments.
Not to lose hope, suggest our hard-working amateur boxing officials.
They’re trying their very best; there are enough Filipino aspirants that will fight it for flag and country in remaining qualifying stages.
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Anyway, one heartwarming development is the announcement by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) that a new batch of Filipino sports greats will be inducted into the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame later this month, a fitting follow-up to the first induction in 2010.
Sprinter Mona Sulaiman, swimmer Heidi Coloso-Espino, shooter Martin Gison are early shoo-ins among the new batch of honorees.
But one name that stands out is that of tennis great Felicismo Ampon, who should have been in the first batch, based on his golden reputation as the finest racquet-wielder pound-for-pound in the world during his time.
Ampon undoubtedly was a shining pillar of Filipino sports greatness.
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By the way, there are many other national sports heroes who are bound to again be bypassed in this year’s tribute.
Listen to senior trader/sportsman Ramon Avena, heir to Vicente Avena, the feared Killer Kaliwete of the Philippine national basketball and volleyball teams in the Far Eastern Olympic Games:
“Manigong Bagong Taon po. Kababasa ko lang po, just read in the Inquirer Sports page about the 13 Filipino athletes that will be enshrined in the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame. All of them were truly deserving. The inductees in basketball, where they used a criteria, should’ve been honored much ahead. However, they have obviously forgotten the roots of Filipino basketball greatness in the region starting 1910 in the Far Eastern Olympic Games (FEOG), where the Philippines was a consistent winner.”
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Our informer said it would be hard to measure the tremendous honor these fearless Filipino campaigners have brought to the country.
He has one final plea: “Ang hiling ko po, my prayer is for the PSC to take note of the legendary achievements in the field of basketball by greats including Lou Salvador, Mariano Filomeno, Mariano Sangle, Augusto Bautista, Rabaya, Pedro Robles, Vicente Avena, and many more who brought honor to the country from in the Far Eastern Olympic Games where the Philippines reigned unbeaten.”
A simple recognition would be more than welcome.
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