PSC chief thinks 19-strong PH roster has strong chance to win Tokyo Olympic gold


Philippines' Hidilyn Diaz c

FILE – The Philippines’ Hidilyn Diaz competes during the women’s 53kg weightlifting event at the Rio 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro on August 7, 2016. (Photo by GOH Chai Hin / AFP)

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Sports Commission chief Butch Ramirez believes it’s high time for a Filipino to finally get over the hump in the Olympics.

A total of 19 Filipinos will be competing in the upcoming Tokyo Games, the country’s largest delegation since it sent 20 athletes in Sydney 2000.

“I really believe that we’re going to win a medal in the Tokyo Olympics. We’re going to have gold, silver and bronze because we also have newcomers who are capable of pulling off surprises,” Ramirez said in Filipino during an interview with Radyo Pilipinas Dos.

“You don’t need to wait for 12 years before winning a medal in the Olympics. It will depend on talent, coaching, exposure, serendipity, and timing. There are a lot of factors.”

Leading the stacked Philippine contingent is Rio weightlifting silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz, world champion gymnast Carlos Yulo, rising pole vaulter EJ Obiena, reigning US Women’s Open champion Yuka Saso and middleweight contender Eumir Marcial.

Three other boxers in Nesthy Petecio, Irish Magno and Carlo Paalam and two more golfers in Bianca Pagdanganan and Juvic Pagunsan also secured slots in the much-delayed Games.

Rounding out the team are Asian skateboarding champion Margielyn Didal, 2018 Asian Games judo silver medalist Kiyomi Watanabe, up-and-coming weightlifter Elreen Ando, taekwondo jin Kurt Barbosa, rower Cris Nievarez, shooter Jayson Valdez, sprinter Kristina Knott, and swimmers Luke Gebbie and Remedy Rule.

The Tokyo Olympics, which was postponed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will be held from July 23 to Aug. 8.


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