This week, the Philippines saw many victories, courtesy of strong women who – rightfully so – overshadowed an almost three-hour long State of the Nation Address (SONA).
When Hidilyn Diaz bagged the Philippines’ first Olympic gold medal, a feat 97 years in the making, there was an overflow of pride, joy, and tears from Filipinos.
The sentiment online was roaring: a sense of collective victory after what seemed like years of defeats. The losses came from a strongman who refused to fight for the country’s sovereignty, and was dismal in handling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Diaz did not just break the Olympic record during the Tokyo Games, she also managed to lift the spirit of a tired nation.
For Twitter user @vaneillaxxx, the victory was made even more memorable because Filipino equestrian star Mikee Cojuangco – the first Asian woman executive board member of the International Olympic Committee – handed the well-deserved gold medal to Diaz.
Diaz’s victory grabbed the spotlight away from a president known for his expletives and misogynistic statements in public speeches.
Many Twitter users likened Diaz’s win to poetic justice.
And it seemed there was no shortage of good news, brought to us by another strong woman from the Philippine team. Nesthy Petecio became the first Filipina boxer assured of an Olympic medal, securing at least a bronze for the country.
With the guaranteed medal, Petecio ensured a multiple medal streak at the Olympics for the Philippines for the first time in 89 years.
Also earlier this week, skateboarder Margielyn Didal captured hearts online because of her cheerful attitude and outstanding sportsmanship in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Despite failing to win the event, Didal clearly enjoyed her journey as an Olympic athlete, and so did the netizens.
Even the official Twitter account of the Tokyo Olympics recognized Didal’s “seal [of] approval.”
Didal, just like Diaz and other Filipino athletes, had to overcome a lot of challenges, including the lack of support from the government. The 2018 Asian Games gold medalist had been calling for local governments to provide skate parks for budding athletes.
Apart from Diaz, Petecio, and Didal, golf phenom and 2021 US Women’s Open champion Yuka Saso, and 2019 SEA Games silver medalist Irish Magno are strong contenders for this year’s Olympics.
The Tokyo Olympics may be a short event compared to the long six years under a misogynistic leader fond of sexist jokes, but these were indeed strong and powerful victories for our Filipina athletes, and we were just getting started. Abante, babae!