POC chief: 2021 ‘golden year’ of Philippine sports
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Olympic Committee called 2021 the gold standard for Philippine sports after the country collected four medals, including its first gold, in Tokyo 2020.
Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz became the Philippines’ first Olympic gold medalist when she ruled the women’s 55 kilogram division while boxers Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam, and Eumir Marcial had silver and bronze medal finishes.
“This is a year of congratulations for all of us — for breaking several milestones in our sports,” said POC president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino. “The perfect description for this year is The Golden Year of Philippine Sports.”
Diaz lifted a total of 224 kg in her final, beating China’s Liao Qiuyun by one kilogram capping off the golden hunt that started in the 2008 Beijing Games.
Petecio became the first female Filipino boxer to step into the Olympic podium when she won the silver in the featherweight division while Paalam had the same route in the men’s flyweight class.
Marcial, meanwhile, captured the bronze in the men’s middleweight division.
“The year 2021 saw us attain multiple medals highlighted by that elusive gold in the Tokyo Olympics,” said Tolentino. “The COVID-19 pandemic may have slowed us down, but the ever-resilient Filipinos have again proven that we rise against the odds.”
Diaz led the Philippines’ 19-athlete contingent in Tokyo, the most the country has fielded since it sent 20 athletes to the 2000 Sydney Games.
“Yes, the Filipino athlete can win in the Olympics. Yes, we have the capability and we will build on that success,” said Tolentino. “Although the rest of Team Philippines didn’t win a medal in Tokyo, their determination and their youth make them strong candidates when we return to the Olympic stage in Paris.”
“Remember, Hidilyn was a young, unassuming, and innocent 18-year-old when she competed in her first Olympics in 2008 in Beijing.”
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