The best results in the history of Team Philippines during the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics are giving Filipinos something to be proud of and we as hope to continue that success in Paris 2024, Filipino athletes and sports associations are already gearing up to address the challenge to equal the feat, or do better.
Exceeding expectations, Team Philippines finished 50th in the overall medal standings with one gold, two silvers and one bronze. This impressive medal haul was enough to be the best in Southeast Asia, the next closest being Indonesia’s one gold, one silver and three bronzes.
Our medals came from weightlifting and boxing. Hidilyn Diaz earned the country’s first ever gold medal by ruling the 55-kg category, Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam boxed their way to silver medal finishes and Eumir Marcial fought gallantly to win bronze.
Additionally, other members of our 19-strong Olympic delegation mostly put themselves in a position to actually compete to win medals, thanks to much needed support from their countrymen and government.
As Hidilyn Diaz said right after her historic victory, “This proves we can do it. They said this was impossible. I thought this was impossible. But the Filipino can do it. We just have to believe.”
Because the quest for excellence is never-ending, we cannot afford to rest on our laurels and must now continue to work harder and constantly raise our standards for training, preparation and performance as our athletes and dreamers look ahead to the next Olympics. The private sector and government that has seen how the wins of our countrymen have raised morale and inspired more Filipinos to strive for greatness can hopefully invest more so we can discover, nurture, train and push those who have the potential to be great, so we can sustain the cycle of excellence that finally bore fruit in the Tokyo Olympics.
As we wish Team Philippines our best in their continued quest of excellence, let us also demand and expect more from ourselves, our loved ones, and our leaders as we continue to build a nation that we can also be proud of.*