It is quite interesting that a lot of successful people, life coaches, and motivational speakers pick up the sports page first before the front page. Some even claim that they skip the main headlines altogether.
It is the positive vibes that sports news offers they say. In and of itself, sports speak of man’s triumphs, wins and victories. Sports stories are entertaining, and more importantly encouraging.
As we continue to live in unsure times, some of our Filipino athletes continue to fly on their own on the world stage. Their experiences are newsworthy enough to make the banner of any broadsheet.
Consider the following:
Hidilyn Diaz qualifies for the Tokyo Olympics
Last April 18, Rio Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Competing at the Asian Weightlifting Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Diaz placed 4th overall with a total lift of 212 kgs. (94kgs in the snatch and 118kgs. in the clean-and-jerk).
With this performance, Diaz maintained her world no. 2 ranking and qualified her for the Olympics. The top 8 athletes in each weight category as of April 30, 2021 will be given a slot at the games, according to Tokyo’s weightlifting qualification rules.
Another Filipina representing well in weightlifting
In the same event, Filipina weightlifter Elreen Ando took home three medals (2 silvers and 1 bronze) in the women’s 64kg finals.
The 25-year-old Ando lifted 94kgs. and 119 kgs. in the snatch and clean-and-jerk categories, respectively. Her total lift was 213 kgs, two kgs. heavier than South Korea’s Sojin Han (211 kgs.)
The gold medal went to Chinese Taipei’s Chen Wen-Huei who lifted a total of 228 kgs. Despite the difference in their total lifts, Ando proved that in weightlifting, Filipinos can compete with the best in the world.
A Filipino athlete’s dream playing out
In tennis, 16-year-old Alex Eala leapt 53 places up the WTA rankings. From 715, she is now ranked 662nd in the world.
The Filipina ace continued her winning ways in the $60,000 Bellinzona International Tennis Federation (ITF) tournament in Switzerland. Her overall performance catapulted Alex nearer to her dream.
Despite twists and turns
Everyone was rooting and expectant that 7-foot-2 Kai Sotto was clearly on his way to be the first homegrown Filipino basketball player to make it to the National Basketball Association (NBA). The initial plan was for him to play in the NBA G- League in preparation for his entry to the NBA Draft this summer.
But with big plans come big challenges.
After sifting through all his options, the 19-year-old Sotto will be playing for the Adelaide 36ers in the Australian National Basketball league (NBL) 2021-2022 season. Although this represents a different path, the goal to get into the NBA draft remains.
A true Filipino patriot
At 22-year-old, Eugene Torre made history in the 1974 Nice Olympiad in France by becoming Asia’s first grandmaster.
Despite the inconsistent presence of local support, Torre’s commitment to the sport never wavered. It is more noteworthy that Torre pledged his allegiance to play for the Philippines even if he was being lured by other countries to represent them. The Filipino woodpusher continued to represent the country and Asia in Chess Olympiads from 1970-2016.
On April 20, Torre received the highest honor that can be given in the world of chess. The World Chess Federation (FIDE) inducted Torre into the World Chess Hall of Fame. He is the first Asian male ever to be given this accolade.
There are only 37 inductees in the World Chess Hall of Fame. It should be an honor for every Filipino to see Torre’s name together with the likes of Bobby Fischer, Emmanuel Lasker, Raul Capablanca and of course, not to forget the other great chess players like Anatoly Karpov, Garry Kasarpov and Boris Spassky.
Sports stories make better headlines
It is sad that bad news apparently attract more readers. The emergence of social media reveals that more engagement is generated by negative talk, uncontrolled gossip and incomplete buzz. It is therefore no surprise that we continue to espouse an atmosphere of uncertainty and cultivate a feeling of negativity.
Sports fortunately provides a respite from all this. Consider following the advice of successful people. Read the sports news first. Or even better, don’t read the main headline at all.
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Mike Ochosa is an avid sportsman. He has written for various broadsheets and on line publication providing his thoughts and insights on various sports. He is a freelance TV boxing analyst having sat ringside in 14 of Pacquiao’s fights and for various international sports networks as well. He was President of Punchout Boxing Club and is currently President and Program Director of Philippine Habagat Baseball.
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