With multiple medals, Tokyo 2020 an Olympic banner year for Philippines

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  • The Philippines will finish with multiple medals in the ongoing Olympics.

    This means that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will represent a banner year for the country.

    The Philippine Daily Inquirer observed that this will be the first time since the Los Angeles 1932 Games that the Philippines will win multiple medals.

    As of July 28, the Philippine delegation to the Tokyo Olympics has now secured two medals after Hidilyn Diaz’s gold in weightlifting and Nesthy Petecio’s guaranteed bronze in boxing.

    But more medals are expected to come for the Philippines with three more boxers headed by Eumir Marcial still in contention and other top bets in reigning US Women’s Open golf champion Yuka Saso, fast-rising pole vaulter EJ Obiena among others yet to see action in their respective events.

    World champion gymnast Carlos Yulo will also compete in the medal round of vault on August 2.

    “Tokyo 2020 is already considered as a banner Olympic year for the Philippines following Diaz’s accomplishment and Petecio’s sure podium,” the Inquirer noted.

    Diaz’s feat completed the near-century old quest for the gold medal by the Philippines, which first participated in the Olympics in Paris 1924.

    The Inquirer report also provided a history of the Philippine campaign for medals in the Olympics.

    In 1932, the Philippines plucked three bronze medals courtesy of athletics’ Simeon Toribio, bantamweight boxer Jose Villanueva and swimmer Teofilo Yldefonso.

    Yldefonso was also the first Filipino to win an Olympic medal after he bagged the bronze in Amsterdam 1928.

    Since then, the Philippines has managed to win just six medals from the 1936 Berlin Games to Rio 2016 with the exception of the Moscow edition in 1980 where the country did not participate due to the Soviet-Afghan war.

    Diaz came close to delivering the country’s breakthrough gold in 2016 after seizing the silver.

    Boxer Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco also won silver in Atlanta 1996 in a light flyweight final that ended in highly controversial fashion.

    In between Velasco and Diaz’s silver finishes, the Philippine contingent came home empty-handed in four straight Games.

    The Inquirer also provided a list of Filipino Olympic medalists from 1936 to 2016:

    Berlin 1936 – Miguel White (athletics): bronze
    Tokyo 1964 – Anthony Villanueva (boxing): silver
    Seoul 1988 – Leopoldo Serantes (boxing): bronze
    Barcelona 1992- Roel Velasco (boxing): bronze
    Atlanta 1996 – Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco (boxing): silver
    Rio 2016 – Hidilyn Diaz (weightlifting): silver

    The 2020 Tokyo Olympics began on July 23, 2021 after being postponed a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The games formally draw to a close on August 8.

    The Manila Times reported that boxer Nesthy Petecio scored a convincing 5-0 victory over Yeni Marcela Arias Castañeda of Colombia in the quarterfinals of women’s featherweight boxing on July 28 at the Kokugikan Arena in Sumida, Tokyo.

    The fighter from Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur earned scores of 29-28 from three judges and 30-27 from two judges to enter the semifinal round and assure herself of at least a bronze medal.

    “I am so happy at this moment. This is my first Olympics, and I have won my first medal. I don’t really know how I feel right now,” said Petecio, who needs two more wins to turn an assured bronze to solid gold. “This tournament is proving so special to me; I am just so blessed.”

    This is also the country’s first medal in boxing since Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco Jr. captured the silver 25 years ago in 1996.

    Petecio hurdled the biggest obstacle in her quest for the Tokyo gold by outpointing Li Yun-Ting, the tournament’s top seed and world’s number one featherweight, in the round-of-16 on July 26.

    Her next stumbling block is Testa Irma of Italy, who dominated Caroline Veyre of Canada 5-0 to enter the round-of-4.

    The Petecio-Irma semifinal tussle will be on July 31.

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