2021, sad year for world athletes
By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.
I’M a keen observer and curious fellow since I was a child, because I’ve always believed that it is one of the best ways to be more knowledgeable and to educate myself about ongoings in the world aside from formal studies in school. Since I became a sports writer for Guam Tribune in 1991 and returned here for good on June 1993, my day was never complete if I failed to buy and read the sports sections of two of our three well-known national dailies on any day.
Today, I keep myself posted on the latest bulletin in the world of sports – the beleaguered and problematical Tokyo Olympic Games!
From what I have read so far, the first six months of year 2021 for the postponed Tokyo Olympics have not been encouraging. It has always been plagued with uncertainties and serious concerns whether it should continue to be postponed or not because of the continued spike in cases of the lethal global disease COVID-19. Many of Tokyo’s neighboring cities and co-hosts are pressing for the continued postponement, while still others are convinced the quadrennial meet should already be cancelled.
I also observed the same negative trend in the first six months of 2021 for the world’s former athletes. Quite a number have passed on since February. The first to depart this life was the former world heavyweight champion Leon Spinks who died last February 5 because of prostate cancer. The six-foot-one Spinks, 67, who won the gold medal in the light heavyweight division during 1976 Montreal Olympic Games, became popular when he upset the late famous legendary boxer Muhammad Ali in 1978 via split decision with just seven outing as a professional pugilist. Ali won the rematch through unanimous verdict.
Second boxer to pass away last March 13 was another former world champ – Marvin “Marvelous” Hagler. He died due to natural cause, according to his wife. The 5’9” southpaw Hagler, 66, won the middleweight tiara over Alan Minter and defended the undisputed middleweight title 12 times including his sensational knockout win over arch-rival Thomas Hearns.
Third to kick the bucket was NBA’s Utah Jazz former behemoth center Mark Eaton who died in a bicycle crash last May 28. The 7-foot-4 Eaton, 64, was selected twice as NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1985 and 1989. He held the league’s single season blocks with 456 during the 1984-1985 NBA season.
In our national side, the first sports celebrity to go to one’s last resting place was former Philippine Olympic Committee president (1999 to 2004) Celso Dayrit. He died on April 28, reportedly because of COVID-19. Dayrit, 69, was also elected as the president of Philippine Fencing Association and also led the Fencing Confederation of Asia.
Second to die this year (May 3) was the erstwhile Games and Amusement Board czar Dominador Cepeda who served as GAB’s top honcho from 1994 to 2001. Cepeda, 86, was very active in boxing and represented our nation in various international bodies like the World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Association (WB A). He died because of natural cause.
In the local scene, a friend of this writer, died last week. Former First District Board Member and ex-vice mayor of Alaminos City Teofilo “Bosyong” Humilde, Jr. died last June 10 reportedly due to COVID-19. The Alaminos-born Humilde was a great fan of basketball. He supported PBA’s Shell player Jun Marzan and lately Lorde Tugade, and the former MBA’s Pangasinan President/Waves owner, his close friend Bani born Tim Orbos. He’s also avid supporter of the Alaminos City quintet in every organized province-wide tournament especially those organized by the hard-working Gov. Amado Espino Ill. My heartfelt and deepest condolences to the family.
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: He has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and He will pay back what He has given. PROVERBS 19: 17.
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