Philippines achieves best Olympic record at Tokyo 2020

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  • With four medals, including a gold, the Philippines scored its best record at the Olympics at the 2020 games in Tokyo.

    The medal haul surpassed the three bronzes earned by the Philippines in 1932.

    The 2020 Tokyo Olympics opened on July 23, 2021 because of delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The games drew to a close on August 8, with the U.S., China, and Russian Olympic Committee finishing first, second and third, respectively, in most number of medals.

    Great Britain came fourth with medals, and host country Japan finished at fifth place.

    Canada came in at 11th spot.

    A total of 206 countries participated in Tokyo 2020.

    In terms of medal count, the Philippines is at 47th place, tied with Slovakia.

    Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz brought home the country’s first Olympic gold by ruling the women’s 55-kilogram class.

    She also did it in style, setting a new Philippine record of 97 kilograms in snatch, an Olympic record of 127 kilograms in clean and jerk, and another Olympic record with her total of 224 kilograms.

    The Philippine boxing team produced the most medals.

    Nesthy Petecio bagged the silver in the women’s featherweight division, and Carlo Paalam claimed his own silver in the men’s flyweight division.

    Philippine boxer Eumir Marcial was good for a bronze in the men’s middleweight class.

    Petecio also became the first Filipino female boxer to win a medal at the Games.

    The Philippines, which first joined the Olympics in 1924, had three medals at the 1932 Los Angeles Games.

    The medals in 1932 were turned in by Teofilo Ildefonso in swimming, Simeon Toribio in high jump and Jose Villanueva in boxing.

    By winning a gold, two silvers and a bronze, the Philippines also finished first among the Southeast Asian countries competing in Tokyo.

    Indonesia came in second with one gold, one silver and three bronzes.

    Thailand is third with one gold and one bronze, while Malaysia is fourth with one silver and one bronze.

    The last time the Philippines led its Southeast Asian neighbors in the Olympiad was in the 1964 Olympics, which was also held in Tokyo. Anthony Villanueva was the only medalist from the region, taking the silver in men’s featherweight boxing.

    The Philippines sent 19 athletes to compete in 11 sports in Tokyo.

    Boxer Irish Magno, weightlifter Elreen Ando, pole vaulter EJ Obiena, rower Cris Nievarez, gymnast Carlos Yulo, taekwondo jin Kurt Barbosa, skateboarder Margielyn Didal, rifle shooter Jayson Valdez, sprinter Kristina Knott, judoka Kiyomi Watanabe, golfers Juvic Pagunsan, Bianca Pagdanganan, Yuka Saso, and swimmers Remedy Rule and Luke Gebbie made up the Philippine delegation.

    Yulo, Ando and Gebbie did not make the podium, but set new national records in Tokyo.

    Yulo’s average score (14.716) and his score in the last of his two passes (14.866) is the highest by any Filipino gymnast in the vault.

    Ando broke the record in the 64-kilogram division with her (snatch, clean and jerk, total) 100-122-222, eclipsing her own 94-119-213 at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, and 98-115-213 at the Asian Championships last April.

    Gebbie reset the Philippine record in the men’s 100-meter freestyle by clocking 49.64 seconds in Tokyo, erasing the 49.94 he set at the 2019 FINA World Championships.

    Saso also had a chase that went short of the target at the Kasumigaseki Country Club in Saitama, but salvaged a Top 10 finish in the Olympic women’s golf ruled by American Nelly Korda.

    Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo thanked the country’s athletes who competed in Tokyo.

    Robredo said their determination in giving their best for the country was admirable.

    She said she hopes the athletes also felt the love of a grateful country.

    Diaz’s gold medal victory ended the country’s 97-year wait for an Olympic gold medal.
    Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines President Ricky Vargas praised all four Filipino boxers in Tokyo, including women’s flyweight Irish Magno, for their accomplishment.

    “My gratitude to team ABAP — four boxers going home with two silvers and one bronze. We’re very proud of all of you,” Vargas said in a statement. “Sumbag Pinoy! Salamat sa lahat ng supporta PSC (Philippine Sports Commission), POC (Philippine Olympic Committee) at MVP Sports Foundation.

    Malacañang on August 9 claimed the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte made a big investment on Filipino athletes, resulting in the Philippines’ best Olympic finish.

    This was despite athletes’ revelations that they sought additional financial support ahead of Tokyo Olympics 2020.

    Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement even if Tokyo Olympians Hidilyn Diaz and Eumir Marcial, who won an Olympic gold and silver medal in weightlifting and boxing middleweight division, respectively, lamented the lack of funding support for their Olympic preparation in May 2019 and in May this year.

    “Hindi coincidence na we had the best ever performance in the Olympics, including our first gold medal ever, under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte. Figures will bear me out, talaga naman pong nagtanim at nag-invest ang Pangulo sa ating mga atleta,” Roque said without citing figures during a Palace briefing.

    (It is not a coincidence that we had the best ever performance in the Olympics, including our first gold medal ever, under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte. Figures will bear me out that our President really invested in our athletes.)

    Back in May 2019, Diaz said she was really having a tough time in funding her Olympic training and that she wants to seek the help of the private sector, even if such move could be embarrassing.

    “[Is it] okay to ask sponsorship sa mga private companies towards Tokyo 2020?” Diaz wrote in her Instagram story. “Hirap na hirap na ako. I need financial support.”

    ([Is it] okay to ask for sponsorship from private companies towards Tokyo 2020? I am having a hard time. I need financial support.)

    “Nahihiya kasi ako pero try ko kapalan ang mukha ko para sa minimithi kong pangarap para sa atin bansa na maiuwi ang Gold Medal sa Olympics,” Diaz wrote.

    (I am embarrassed but I will try to be thick-skinned to attain my dream for our country to have a gold medal at the Olympics.)

    Marcial, on the other hand, expressed frustration just last May that the funds for his Olympic training was not enough.

    “Since last year when I was in the United States and now I’m in Zamboanga City, do you think a monthly allowance of P43,000 is enough for my preparation for the Olympics?” Marcial said in Filipino.

    Also in March this year, Tokyo 2020 Olympic boxer Irish Magno raised concerns over delayed release of their allowance, but she later deleted her Facebook post over unclear reasons.

    Last month, the Palace admitted that national team athletes are not getting enough amount of financial support.

    “Kulang po talaga, parang minimum wage nga lang po ang allowance ng ating mga atleta. Titignan natin kung paano mababago ito,” Roque said.

    (It is really not enough, it is as if it is on the level of minimum wage for our athletes and we will look for ways how can we change this.)

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