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Senate fetes Tokyo heroes

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HIDILYN Diaz (center), Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam and Eumir Marcial are commended with Medals of Excellence by the Philippine Senate. / PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF POC

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go co-sponsored a resolution that commends the historic performance of Filipino athletes who represented the country in the Tokyo Olympics last month.

In a manifestation last Monday, Go underlined power of sports in bringing the nation together and thanked Olympic medalists Hidilyn Diaz, Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam and Eumir Marcial for inspiring the Filipinos in this time of pandemic.

Diaz emerged with the country’s first gold medal in the Olympics when she ruled the women’s -55kg weightlifting event while boxers Petecio and Paalam claimed the silver medals in the women’s featherweight and men’s lightweight events, respectively.

Another boxer in Marcial also made his presence felt as he clinched the bronze medal in the men’s middleweight event to underscore the country’s best ever performance since joining the Olympics in 1924.

“I extend my warmest felicitations and utmost support to our Filipino athletes who participated and exemplified admirable dedication and perseverance in different sporting categories during the Tokyo Olympics,” Go, the chairperson of the Senate sports committee, said.

“I also would like to place into the record that this will serve as one of the greatest moments in Philippine sports history.”

“Indeed, the accolades and accomplishments of our countrymen have served as a source of encouragement and inspiration, and even unified the nation. This goes to show that despite the challenges we are facing, and the humbling experience this pandemic has brought upon each of us, we (can) continue to strive harder and soar to greater heights.”

Go personally congratulated the medalists, who were each awarded by the Philippine Senate with Medal of Excellence, a newly-created award which seeks to “recognize, honor, and commend outstanding Filipinos for their exemplary service, outstanding achievements, and invaluable contributions to nation-building.”

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri said aside from being honored, Diaz will also receive an additional P1 million cash incentive while Petecio and Paalam get P500,000 each and Marcial P400,000.

Go noted that all of the Olympic medalist are from Mindanao, proving that the region takes pride in bringing honor and glory to the country.

“It’s really good that all of them came from Mindanao. We proved that Mindanao is the ‘Land of Promise.’ We have four athletes from Mindanao and I am happy that we have senators like Sen. Manny Pacquiao, Sen. Koko (Pimentel), Sen. Bato (dela Rosa) and, of course, Sen. Zubiri, the pride of Bukidnon, are all from Mindanao,” said Go, who hails from Davao City.

He commended the other Olympians for displaying the spirit of camaraderie and sportsmanship.

Among the athletes honored were Elreen Ann Ando of weightlifting, Kurt Barbosa of taekwondo, Margielyn Didal of skateboarding, Luke Gebbie and Remedy Rule of swimming, Kristina Marie Knott and Ernest John Obiena of athletics, Irish Magno of boxing, Cris Nievarez of rowing, Bianca Pagdanganan, Yuka Saso and Juvic Pagunsan of golf, Jayson Valdez of shooting, Kiyomi Watanabe of judo), and Carlos Yulo of gymnastics.

“I join my colleagues in the Senate in honoring our countrymen who gave glory to the country, especially in this time of pandemic,” he said.

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