Villaflor: Heavier than gold

AFTER winning the weightlifting silver in Rio 2016, Hidilyn Diaz naturally became a household name in the country.

She joined Miguel White (athletics bronze, Berlin 1936), Anthony Villanueva (boxing silver, Tokyo 1964), Leopoldo Serantes (boxing bronze, Seoul 1988), Roel Velasco (boxing bronze, Barcelona 1992), and Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco (boxing silver, Atlanta 1996) in the elite list of Olympic medalists.

And like her fellow medal winners, Diaz’s name will forever be remembered by generations of Filipinos to come.

There’s no doubt, however, that the gold Diaz snared in the Women’s 55kg weightlifting on July 26, 2021 is the most special of the lot as winning one has eluded the country for close to a hundred years.

But there’s more good news: The Philippines is now assured of going home with multiple medals, the first time since the 1932 Los Angeles Summer Olympics when it won three bronzes.

This after featherweight Nesthy Petecio booked a semifinals slot on July 28 and secured a bronze in Women’s boxing.

And there’s good reason many Pinoys feel the Tokyo Olympics will bring in another gold medal.

Aside from Petecio, Eumir Marcial has what it takes to win gold in boxing.

Marcial looked slick as he disposed of his Algerian foe via first round technical knockout on Wednesday, July 29, in the Men’s middleweight Round of 16.

Golfer Yuka Saso, who won the US Women’s Open last month, is also a medal prospect.

No doubt, Diaz’s win will fire her fellow athletes up to add to the country’s medal tally.

Regardless of how our remaining athletes fare, the results of the Tokyo Olympics are unprecedented.

And all this is happening at a time when Filipinos are struggling to win their battle against the pandemic.

Led by Diaz, our determined Filipino Olympians have suddenly become an immeasurable source of inspiration not just for pride but for everyday survival.

Being at the Olympics is a feat in itself, and none of our athletes who represented the Philippines in Tokyo got there overnight.

To every Filipino, the message from our Olympians is loud and clear: No goal is too small and no dream is too big.

May the weight of their message not get drowned in all the noise.


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