General Admission 

If it’s 4 gold medals, that’s already a windfall

By Al S. Mendoza


AS I write this, we’ve captured four gold medals so far in the Asian Games in Indonesia.

One gold medal came each in weightlifting and skateboard.

The remaining two gold medals were snatched in women’s golf.

Not bad.

The golden haul seemed like a windfall already as we only had a solitary gold in the last Asiad in 2014 Incheon, South Korea.

Ricky Caluag, the US-based biker, became our lone gold medalist four years ago in Incheon when he won the BMX races.

This time, Caluag, working in two US hospital as a nurse, could only salvage bronze.

I keep praying we’d win some more in Jakarta, even as the two-week Asiad held every four years was set to end today.

It’s been really that hard to win in the quadrennial Games as the event is the region’s equivalent of the Olympic Games.

Twice I’ve covered the Asian Games and I’ve seen the best of the best from not only China but from Japan and South Korea as well smother us repeatedly.

Indeed, we are years behind in speed, skill and strength against these giants.

Our fourth gold came from skateboarder Margielyn Didal of Cebu—a first for us in the sport.

It was a stunning win as it came when it was least expected.

With Didal’s victory, all the major islands of the Philippines had won gold medals.

Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz is from Mindanao, Didal is from the Visayas and the trio of golden golfers Yuka Saso (individual champ), Bianca Pagdanganan and LK Go (team winner) are from Luzon.

And notice, too, that all our gold medal winners thus far are women.

Our equestriennes are still competing as I write this.

If we win a gold or two there, I won’t be surprised.

Remember Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski’s equestrian gold that came on the last day of the 2002 Busan Games?

I was covering the Games then and my story for the day for the Inquirer (I was the paper’s sports editor then) was finished.

Then came Mikee’s last-minute golden feat, forcing me to revise the story that became headline stuff the next morning.

OK, to get back to Jakarta, we faltered in basketball but nothing to be ashamed of.

We had a hastily-formed team, yes, but still fought well, thanks to our usual big fighting heart and, yes, to Fil-Am Jordan Clarkson as well.

Clarkson of the Cleveland Cavaliers, lent to us by the NBA, wowed us with his wondrous performances.

Unfortunately, we still got ourselves ousted by South Korea, our perennial nemesis. Lack of preparation did us in.  But, of course.

But if it’s any consolation, we improved on our seventh-place finish in 2014 Incheon basketball.

For a team that was only three weeks old, good enough.

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