With PH’s best Olympics in the books, POC chief believes Paris 2024 will better that
The country’s Olympic boxing medalists arrived in Manila on Monday to controlled fanfare—and to a new era of Philippine Sports.
Silver medalists Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam, and bronze medalist Eumir Marcial flew in along with teammate Irish Magno and their coaches, part of a group that will be known as the best there ever was in the country’s Olympics history.
But Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said this isn’t yet the best there ever will be.
“We’ll try to get better, we already have a template and we know now what to do,” said Tolentino.
The boxers expressed excitement about finally heading home after being away from their families for so long as they trained for the Olympics.
“I’m excited to be home,” Petecio, the runner-up in the women’s featherweight category to Japan’s Sena Irie, said in Filipino.
Paalam, who lost to Great Britain’s Galal Yafai in the men’s flyweight final, said he plans to immediately fly home to Cagayan de Oro City as soon as he can, along with father figure and trainer Elmer Pamisa.
“I want to help finish the house I’m building there,” said Paalam, who is hoping to finish a new abode far away from his old shanty near a landfill in Barangay Carmen, in Filipino.
The landfill is slowly being transformed into a park and Paalam said he won’t abandon his old home.
“I’ll fix it up because it is a reminder of where I came from,” said the 23-year-old fighter.
A gamble on lives
Meanwhile, Tokyo awoke to a huge bill and soaring coronavirus cases on Monday after pulling off a mid-pandemic Olympics that at times looked impossible and had a mixed reception to the end.
Olympic officials have been predictably bullish, saying the Games offered hope and uplifting moments, and went off without any major coronavirus outbreaks.
“These Olympic Games have been a powerful demonstration of the unifying power of sport,” International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach said at his closing press conference.
But it will take longer for Japan to reckon with a Games that were highly controversial and unfolded as virus cases exploded in Tokyo and elsewhere.
The Asahi Shimbun daily, which had called for cancellation despite being a sponsor of the Games, said the nearly $15 billion event was a “gamble” with people’s lives.
Marcial, meanwhile, will head off to Zamboanga as soon as he can.
Also with the boxers were coaches Boy Velasco, Reynaldo Galido and Ronald Chavez.
They flew in via Philippine Airlines flight 427, and were feted with a toast mid-flight with champagne that the crew provided for the passengers. —with A report from AFP INQ