Medals can be expected from the 19 Filipino athletes seeing action in the Tokyo Olympics in the coming days.
Philippine Sports Commission chairman William Ramirez believes this because the present national delegation is the most prepared contingent since the 1924 Paris Olympics.
“This is the most prepared and strongest Philippine delegation since 1924. They will be the center of inspiration sa mga kabataan, especially in areas of value and character,” said Ramirez.
The PSC chief expressed his thoughts in the coming quadrennial meet in a Zoom huddle with scribes, some three days before he leaves for Japan with National Training Director Marc Velasco.
The present crop of Filipino athletes emerged after 96 athletes from 18 national sports associations trained, prepared and joined Olympic qualification competitions since coronavirus pandemic took place last year, even though there were travel restrictions in place in many countries.
Ramirez said the prospect of going to the Tokyo Games to watch Filipino athletes compete excites him.
Ramirez recalled that during the 1924 Paris Olympics, sports officials back then took a lot of effort in raising funds for the Philippine team to board a ship and head for the quadrennial meet. This was done with private funding alone, with little or no government support.
“Kaya very fortunate ang mga athletes na ito. Kaya, it would be frustrating if no one delivers the gold, no one delivers a silver. Kaya ako excited pumunta because I thought that I can be a witness to a historical gold medal win,” added Ramirez.
The present national delegation is considered as the second largest contingent that the country has assembled since the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Included in the team are Ernest John Obiena (athletics), Carlos Yulo (gymnastics), Eumir Felix Marcial (boxing), Irish Magno (boxing), Nesthy Petecio (boxing), Carlo Paalam (boxing), Hidilyn Diaz (weightlifting) and Cris Nievarez (rowing).
Also listed are Kurt Barbosa (taekwondo), Margielyn Didal (skateboarding), Elreen Ando (weightlifting), Jayson Valdez (shooting), Juvic Pagunsan (golf), Kiyomi Watanabe (judo), Kristina Knott (athletics), Yuka Saso (golf), Bianca Pagdanganan (golf), Gebbie and Rule.
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