On Friday last week, the city of Tokyo in Japan took the plunge that it had postponed to do on the same month the year before. Despite an uncomfortable situation with new cases in the COVID-19 pandemic, and with a number of citizens protesting that the event should just be cancelled, the Summer Olympics launched in July 23, with spectacle and pageantry and near-empty stands greeting the athletes of the world as they paraded in. As the competitions began in earnest over the week, 19 sportsmen and women from the Philippines waded in to try their luck to win Olympic medals including the elusive gold. Here is their current status.
According to The Manila Bulletin, the first few days of events in the 2020-21 Tokyo Summer Olympic games saw the Philippine contingent give their best. For some, it has led to higher prospects; for others, a quick stoppage following an initial determined surge; and others still, only preliminary elimination. Over the weekend some athletes would not advance in the preliminaries of their events. The sole Filipino Taekwondo Jin, Kurt Barbosa, lost to South Korean Jang Jun on Saturday, July 24. Jang then lost to a Tunisian opponent, foiling even the possibility of fighting for bronze.
Barbosa was the first. He was followed by Remedy Rule for the women’s 100-meter butterfly swim, ranking only 25th. She still has the 200-meter butterfly to contest. Also losing while retaining one event to play in is the gymnastics golden boy, Carlos Yulo, who finished 47th with 79.931 points for his favored event, the floor exercises, owing to some bad landings. His Japanese coach has taken responsibility for the subpar performance. Yulo however has qualified for the men’s vault medal round, a feat that surprised him, though he is subdued in his estimates to medal.
Cris Nievarez competed in men’s single-scull rowing before the Olympics officially started, only to finish outside of medaling territory and awaits only a semifinal C/D to cement his placing. Likewise, Jayson Valdez ended up ranked 44 at the men’s 100-meter rifle-shooting in another wipeout. Next, skateboarding makes its Olympic debut in Tokyo, and the Philippines’ bet Margielyn Didal comes in off a gold-medal finish at the 2018 Asian Games and 2019 SEA Games. She managed to advance to the finals only to place 7th overall, outside the medal range. It seemed fitting then that Japanese skateboarders would claim gold for both men and women’s events.
With these results, it seems to fall to the boxers to get the country somewhere soon in these Olympics. Carlo Paalam (men’s flyweight) and Irish Magno (women’s flyweight) breeze through their preliminaries to the Round of 16. While women’s featherweight bet Nesty Petecio went even further to stand for the quarterfinals. All three are awaiting their next fights.
Also awaiting their events to begin are Rio 2016 silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz alongside teammate Elreen Ando for women’s weightlifting. The same goes for women’s judoka Kiyomi Watanabe; men’s freestyle swimmer Luke Gebbie, golfers Juvic Pagunsan, Bianca, Pagdanganan and Yuka Saso; and finally track & field athletes Kristina Knott (women’s 200-m) and EJ Obiena (men’s pole vault).
Image courtesy of Rappler