Easier said than done
By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.
WE all know that the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games supposed to be held last August was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The sports’ world governing body International Olympic Committee (IOC) moved the quadrennial meet in July next year. Majority of the elite athletes of every nation, first and foremost, the defending champion United States that figured to have peaked in their preparations last August were upset, thinking that the one-year postponement is too long for them, fearing that they might be over trained come July 2021. But some nations, including the Philippines, were elated about the rescheduling because that give them more time to train to hone their skills. Being a former athlete for 32 years, I must say, both sides are right.
Elated by the postponement, Philippine Sports Commission Chairman Butch Ramirez boldly predicted to win more than one gold medal in July 2021 citing the chances primarily of our only 2016 Rio Olympic Games medalist (silver, weighting) Hidilyn Diaz, reigning gymnast world champion Carlos Edriel Yulo, pole vaulter EJ Obiena and boxer Eumir Marcial. (But the latest report I heard is Marcial is ready to turn professional early next year).
Yes, the Philippines has been chasing to win a gold medal in the Olympic Games since we first participated in 1924 Paris Olympics. Our country which is the seventh largest populated in Asia with 110 million inhabitants after China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Japan, almost won our first ever gold medal in 1964 Tokyo Olympics courtesy of my friend the boxer Anthony Villanueva. Villanueva whom I met in Guam and here in Dagupan City many years ago, lost by a hairline against Russian Stanislav Stephaskin in the featherweight division and settled for silver medal.
Many say Villanueva won that bout and I believe so. But that’s water under the bridge, now. Villanueva turned professional after the Tokyo Games but retired after fighting five times to turn actor. He became also a boxing coach in the Philippines. He migrated to the United States and took an odd job as a security guard and died on May 13, 2014 due to multiple strokes at 69 years of age.
However, Ramirez claimed his forecast is barely backed by skills. “I don’t have a scientific basis to present, but our athletes have proven in international tilts and it goes to show that they can.” Well, it’s his right to make predictions even knowing our Philippine national team is into bubble training. I believe the flamboyant Ramirez may eat his words, again. Yes, “easier said than done” as the father of Olympics Terentius Afer once said. “Nauna ang kalesa, kaysa kabayo,” is what I’d say.
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Filipino former world bantamweight boxing champion Nonito Donaire’s fight against Puerto Rican Emmanuel Rodriguez in Connecticut, U.S.A. on December 19 for the vacant WBC bantamweight title fight is in jeopardy due to the latest (third) test last December 8 that showed Donaire was positive for COVID 19. Donaire who tested negative twice is appealing for a fourth and confirmatory test result. The Showtime network is backing Donaire’s appeal but Premier Boxing Champions owner Al Haymon and the fight promoter Tom Brown who bought the telecast rights will have the final say. Let’s just wait and see. Once again, this contagious disease continues to ruin the world sports.
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Therefore, do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit. EPHESIANS 5: 17-18
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