MANILA, Philippines – Philippine sports legends Elma Muros-Posadas, Akiko Thomson and Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta are among the Olympians who believe that the country can win its first Olympic and Paralympic gold in Tokyo 2020.
“I pray na sana si Hidilyn (Diaz) or sino pa ‘yung young generation [ay makakuha ng first Olympic gold ng Philippines],” said Muros-Posadas, who still holds the Southeast Asian Games athletics record of 15 career gold medals. (READ: Hidilyn Diaz on Olympic gold dreamers: ‘The more the merrier’)
(I pray that Hidilyn Diaz or whoever among the younger generation can clinch the Philippines’ first Olympic gold.)
The celebrated long jumper in the ’80s kicked off the annual torch relay, together with para triathlete Andy Avellana, in the inaugural joint staging of the 2019 Olympic Day and Lakad Para Atleta 2019 on Saturday, June 22, at the UP Diliman College of Science Oval.
It was the first time the Paralympians were highlighted together with the able-bodied athletes in the walk that was culminated by a cauldron lighting ceremony.
“These are exciting times para sa mga para athletes because now we have the law for recognizing para athletes,” said Dumapong-Ancheta, who copped a powerlifting bronze in the 2000 Sydney Paralympics.
“And ngayon, pinag-uusapan ‘yung inclusion so malaking bagay ito para sa mga nagsisimula pa lang.”
(And now, they are talking about inclusion, which is a big factor to those para athletes who are about to start their careers.)
But before the quadrennial meet next year, the Philippine team will have to focus on the country’s hosting of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games first.
“The Philippine team, still being built. I think the SEA Games is going to be the next hurdle,” said three-time Olympic swimmer Akiko Thomson. “I’m just excited for them (Olympians). It’s going to be in Asia, in Tokyo. I’m certain and confident that they’ll do a very good job.”
After copping 4 golds in the 2018 Asian Games thanks to Hidilyn Diaz, Margielyn Didal, Yuka Saso and the women’s golf team, Team Philippines hopes to boost its bid in other sports like swimming and athletics. (New target: Beef up athletics, aquatics for 2019 SEA Games)
The national para team, meanwhile, also eyes a top 3 finish in the 2020 ASEAN Para Games after a surprise run in the Asian Para Games where it exceeded expectations with a 10-gold haul. – Rappler.com