Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Mendoza: Big One versus Big Three

All Write

The Big One versus the Big Three.

The Big One has happened. The Big Three is still in the making.

It has come to that. Filipino versus Filipino, yes, but a competition in song and dance. The friendliest in ages. We want a win by the Big Three. We are cheering them on because once all three duplicate the Big One, the nation’s Olympics performance irrefutably becomes the BOAT (Biggest Of All Time).

The first Big One will always be the most impactful. But let it be known that the succeeding Ones will be as admirable and as revered.

The first Big One, of course, is Hidilyn Diaz. The weightlifting champion and the winner of the first, priciest, hardware in Olympics history—the country’s first Golden Girl thus far from the Tokyo Olympics.

But suddenly, this is one feat we now want surpassed by the Big Three. Or, at least equalized, by any of the Big Three.

All three are close by.

The prospects are good, if not bright.

When it finally, happily, happens, it will absolutely transform this Olympiad from Tokyo Olympics to Titanic Olympics for this nation of 109 million.

Nesthy Petecio is first at bat as she battles for the women’s featherweight gold against Japan’s Sena Irie at 12:05 p.m. on Aug. 3.

Before that is Filipino flyweight Carlo Paalam clashing with Chakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan at 10:15 a.m.. A win for Paalam assures him of a bronze and will next aim for the silver on Aug. 5.

Eumir Marcial is the third of the Big Three, who will go for the silver against Ukraine’s Oleksandr Khyzhniak at 2:03 p.m., also on Aug. 5.

Marcial, 25, is heavily favored to win again on Thursday, oozing with momentum after toppling his first two foes by first-round knockouts over an Algerian and an Armenian, respectively, to capture a bronze thus far. Should he succeed against Khyzhniak, Marcial’s golden hunt is on Aug. 7.

But, again, I can almost see Petecio winning another gold (did gymnast Carlos Yulo win Monday?) for the country—barring the specter of a hometown decision going the Japanese’s way. For, look at this: Petecio, 29, had beaten Irie, 21, in the 2019 World Boxing Championship.

All eyes are on the five judges of the Petecio-Irie fight. Behave. Block not the coming of the Philippines’ second Golden Girl. Please.


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