"That mind-boggling finish will definitely go down as one of the most amazing moments in this year’s Olympics."
Finally, an Olympic gold. Thanks to a gritty Air Force officer from Zamboanga City, the country finally got a taste of Olympic glory after nearly a century of trying. With our national anthem playing for the first time in the quadrennial sports event, Hidilyn Diaz shed tears of joy as she stood firm and saluted the flag.
After which, clutching then raising the gold medal to the cheers of members of Team Philippines and a grateful nation she muttered “Hindi ako makapaniwala, lalo na Olympic record pa (I can’t believe especially it’s an Olympic record),” as she thanked the Lord, her prayer warriors and all those who cheered her on over the past four years. She went through training, facing all the hardships and trials coming her way as she immediately geared up for Tokyo 2020 after that silver medal finish in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Carrying the hopes and dreams of the Filipino nation on her shoulders given her near miss in Rio, Diaz hastened to say: “Grabe si God. Akala ko imposible, akala ko hindi kaya ng Pinoy pero ibinigay sa atin ni God ( God is great. I thought it was impossible, I thought a Filipino could not do it but God gave it to us),” raising hopes of a veritable medal haul for Team Philippines in this pandemic delayed Olympics as a number of our athletes fight on in search of glory.
Three of the members of our four-man boxing team have moved on to the next round with impressive wins with one, Neschy Petecio, just a win away from snatching a bronze medal. Our world-class gymnast, Carlos Yulo, vowed to do better in his vault exercise, after crashing in the floor exercises. Our other weightlifter, Eileen Ando, aims to duplicate Diaz’ feat as our track and field best, Kristina Knott and EJ Obiena flex their muscles for their respective events. Then, of course, we have our golfing trio led by no less than US Women’s Open Champion Yuka Saso doing the honors.
It was a dramatic finish for the 55-kg category weightlifting champion as she battled toe-to-toe with the Chinese world record holder, China’s Quiyon Lian, down to the last lift. She tied with Lian at 97 kgs after the snatch, a kilogram behind Uzbekistan’s Muaftar Nabieva who lifted 98 kilograms. Navieba could have hauled both Diaz and Lian out to pasture had she not imploded in the clean and jerk after lifting only 114 kgs and 117 kgs after two tries. Then, the fighting duo had to overcome a late challenge from Kazakhtan’s Zulfiya Chimanlo who managed to lift 123 kilograms in her second attempt in the clean and jerk but ultimately faded away as Diaz and Lian put on the pressure after lifting 124 and 123, respectively, in their second tries. Then, Lian lifted for 126 kilograms on her third and last try which would have flustered any competition at that point.
But Diaz, ever the fighter that she is, soldiered on, lifting 127 kilograms and setting an Olympic record in the process. She had a total of 224 kilograms (97 in the snatch and 127 in the clean and jerk after rounds of 119 kgs and 124 kgs) against Lian’s (97 in the snatch and 126 in the clean and jerk after rounds of 118kgs and 123 kgs).
That mind-boggling finish will definitely go down as one of the most amazing moments in this year’s Olympics.
With the Diaz gold medal, the country now boasts two silver medals (Anthony Villanueva in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and Mansueto ‘Onyok’ Velasco in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics) and seven bronze medals on top of the earlier medals hauled by the legendary Teofilo Yldefonso in the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics and in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics.
Of course, our medal haul would be a lot more if we are to claim as well the medal finishes of “half Filipinos,” who have since competed in the Olympics the latest being the gold medal in the fencing individual full event won by Team USA’s Lee Kiefer, a Fil-Am, whose mother Teresa hails from Tagum City in Davao del Norte. But there may be no need for that as we look forward to more medals, gold specially, in this Olympics and beyond. That is a challenge which all of us as a people should be prepared to work on and pray for.
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We extend our sincerest greetings to the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) and Executive Minister Ka Eduardo V. Manalo on the occasion of the church’s 107th anniversary yesterday, July 27.
Over the years, the country’s largest homegrown religious aggrupation has proven to be a veritable refuge not only for the spiritual enlightenment of its members but the welfare and well being of their fellow citizens, here and abroad. By their faith in the Almighty and discipline and fortitude in the face of daily challenges they have earned the respect and admiration of all others regardless of race, creed and beliefs. Mabuhay. To God be the glory!