Thursday, September 23, 2021

Mendoza: The gold hunt resumes

Al Mendoza

All Write

ONE gold won in weightlifting and the outpouring of mostly electric emotions has not waned one teeny-weeny bit.

It would seem to last forever?

It can’t be helped.

It is a feat as rare as a protruding wisdom tooth.

It is spontaneous euphoria that, if it seems to approximate the one greeting the end of the pandemic, oblige.

Never ever be surprised, please.

When a nation gets gifted with a spirit-lifting stunner, celebration can last for like eternity.

Hidilyn Diaz has done that. For sure, by design as it was forged by will power, by steely hands and arms, by sturdy knees, by a rock-hard heart.

Hidilyn won the breakthrough Olympic gold with a lift for the ages on July 25, 2021, a feat that should, hopefully, rub off to the three Filipino females left to dig more gilt from the gold mine in Tokyo 2020.

It was still four women chasing the gold the day Hidilyn had accomplished her dream of a lifetime. But one stumbled along the way.

Irish Magno bowed out to a Thai four days after Hidilyn’s victory, dropping a heart-melting 5-0 decision.

Wasted was Magno’s 5-0 debut win over Christine Ongare, happily coming on the day Hidilyn won her gold.

Against Kenya’s Ongare, 27, who became a mother at age 12, Magno looked like a killing punching machine. It broke my heart watching Magno fight a losing battle in her next bout.

Left to sustain the hunt for more gold are golfers Yuka Saso and Bianca Pagdanganan, who will tee off next week, and Magno’s fellow boxer, Nesthy Petecio.

Saso should be a strong bet for the gold as she is the reigning US Open champion, with Bianca listed as a dark horse.

The Fil-Japanese Saso, 20, enjoys of course familiarity as she’s won two tournaments in the Japan Tour last year.

And Petecio climbs the ring Saturday, July 31 for a shot at a Finals ticket, facing Irma Testa in a featherweight match at 12:30 p.m.

I absolutely see Petecio beating her 23-year-old Italian foe. Reality bites.

Likewise, I predict a sure win for our flyweight Carlo Paalam against Algeria’s Mohammed Flissi on July 31 at 10:48 a.m.

And with Eumir Marcial, our brightest boxing bet, almost set to win his second fight on Sunday, Aug. 1 against a foe he had already beaten three years ago, I can sniff the scent of more gold wafting in the air.

Thanks again, Hidilyn, for opening doors.


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