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POC basks in Diaz’s triumph

The year 2021 saw us attain multiple medals highlighted by that elusive gold in the Tokyo Olympics.

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The Philippine Olympic Committee can’t get over Hidilyn Diaz’s gold medal-winning performance in the Tokyo Olympics. / VINCENZO PINTO/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) remains hung over by the Philippines’ breakthrough performance in the Tokyo Olympics.

“This is a year of congratulations for all of us — for breaking several milestones in our sports,” POC president Tolentino said.

“The perfect description for this year is The Golden Year of Philippine Sports.”

Taking the spotlight was Hidilyn Diaz’s weightlifting gold, the first by the Philippines after appearances in the Olympic Games.

What made Diaz’s gold shine brighter were the additional medals produced by boxers Carlo Paalam and Nesthy Petecio, who both took home silvers, and Marcial’s bronze.

Tolentino was one of the most ecstatic Filipinos inside the Tokyo International Forum that fateful 26 July evening when Diaz, appearing in her fourth straight Olympics, won a contest of brute strength — and tactics — by lifting Games records of 127 kilograms (kgs) in the clean and jerk and 224 kgs in total lift that went with her 97 kgs in snatch en route to the women’s -55kgs gold medal of weightlifting.

“The year 2021 saw us attain multiple medals highlighted by that elusive gold in the Tokyo Olympics,” Tolentino said.

“The Covid-19 pandemic may have slowed us down, but the ever resilient Filipinos have again proven that we rise against the odds.”

“Although the rest on Team Philippines didn’t win a medal in Tokyo, their determination and their youth make them strong candidates when we return to the Olympic stage in Paris,” Tolentino said.

“Remember, Hidilyn was a young, unassuming and innocent 18-year-old when she competed in her first Olympics in 2008 in Beijing.”

Tokyo, Tolentino said, was the springboard to future successes in the Olympics.

“Yes, the Filipino athlete can win in the Olympics. Yes, we have the capability and we will build on that success,” he said.

The success in Tokyo hiked the Philippines’ overall Olympic haul to one gold, five silver and eight bronze medals, a blessing Tolentino said was well longed for and appreciated.

“This year is marked by a spirit of happiness for the blessings we have received,” he said.

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