Why Carlo Paalam is his family’s ‘golden’ boy
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Misamis Oriental, Philippines — Former scavenger turned boxer Carlo Paalam may have failed to get the gold he was aiming for at the Tokyo Olympics, but to his family and girlfriend, he has always been a winner.
“It doesn’t matter that he ended up with a silver medal,” said Paalam’s father, Pio Reo. “For us, my son will always be a gold medalist. [He is] the gold in our lives.”
He added that he was not disappointed at all by the outcome of Paalam’s last bout at the 2020 Olympics, especially because he saw how the country’s newest boxing sensation gave his best in the ring.
Paalam’s mother, Jocelyn, said she did not watch the match although she was thankful that her son won the silver medal.
The 23-year old boxer, who used to earn a living by selling garbage scraps, had fought his way to the finals, where he lost the gold medal in the men’s flyweight division to Great Britain’s Galal Yafai who won via split decision at the Kokugikan Arena on Saturday.
“Even at his young age, he [has] already made it this far. Our son has a very bright future in boxing,” Jocelyn said.
For the boxer’s sister, Michelyn Mae, it does not matter what medal Paalam won.
“What’s important is he is doing okay,” she said. “He did not sustain any injury. It was a miracle he was able to make it after days of fighting. What we prayed for was his safety and well-being. The medal is just secondary,” she added.
According to her, she, her family and the entire country are so proud of her brother. “He fought opponents with titles and yet, he still prevailed. He [has been] a great fighter. Even if it [was] his first time in the Olympics, he already [won the] silver. That’s more than we can ask for,” she said.
Michelyn Mae said that aside from the prestige her brother was bringing home with him, his victory would also allow him to help their family financially.
“His promise to us was, ‘I will buy you food and your other needs with whatever winnings I have,’” she said.
Paalam’s girlfriend, Stephanie Sepulveda, said that she was hurt at first after he failed to win his final match at the Tokyo Games, but she told herself that whatever the outcome was, she would always support him.
“Even though he did not win that gold, I am still grateful to God. A silver is also a big deal,” she said.
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