Paris Olympics

Marcos tells Olympic-bound athletes to ‘show the world what a Filipino is made of’

Delfin Dioquino

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Marcos tells Olympic-bound athletes to ‘show the world what a Filipino is made of’

TEAM PHILIPPINES. President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. during the send-off for athletes bound for the Paris Olympics.

Photo release

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. sends off Filipino athletes bound for the Paris Olympics before they fly to France to kick off their training camp in Metz

MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Friday, June 21, sent off athletes who will see action in the Paris Olympics, telling them to “show the world what a Filipino is made of.”

Gymnast Carlos Yulo, boxers Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam, Hergie Bacyadan, and Aira Villegas, weightlifters Elreen Ando, Vanessa Sarno, and John Ceniza, and rower Joanie Delgaco met Marcos a day before half of Team Philippines fly to France to kick off their training camp in Metz.

“You exemplify the very best of what it means to be a Filipino – we are competitive, courageous, and determined, but we do it with a smile on our face,” Marcos said in the gathering held at the Ayuntamiento de Manila in Intramuros.

“As you step on to the global stage, hold our flag high and show the world what a Filipino is made of. We believe in you, we are proud of you, and we will be with you every step of this remarkable journey.”

Expectations are high for Team Philippines after the country netted its biggest Olympic haul in the previous Tokyo Games, with weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz striking gold, Petecio and Paalam bagging a pair of silvers, and boxer Eumir Marcial adding a bronze.

While Diaz failed to qualify for Paris, Petecio, Paalam, and Marcial get another crack at glory alongside other Olympic returnees Yulo, Ando, and pole vaulter EJ Obiena.

Completing the Philippines’ current 15-man cast for Paris are fencers Samantha Catantan and gymnasts Aleah Finnegan, Emma Malabuyo, and Levi Jung-Ruivivar.

More are expected to join the Olympic roster as judoka Kiyomi Watanabe, golfers Bianca Pagdanganan and Dottie Ardina, and athletics standouts Lauren Hoffman, John Tolentino, and Kristina Knott are on track for Paris berths.

“The athletes that we are sending to this year’s Olympics embody the quintessence of that Filipino spirit – a spirit that knows no bounds, thrives on adversity, and dares to break any barriers put before them,” Marcos said.

“I see before me men and women who have sacrificed countless early mornings, long afternoons, late nights in pursuit of perfection. From humble beginnings to the world stage, each of you has woven a tapestry of courage, of discipline, of sacrifice, and of strength.”

“To our athletes, your carry our hopes and dreams to Paris. You also carry with you the banner of our nation that believes in you, stands proudly beside you, and celebrates your every triumph, and is with you through any obstacle.”

Marcos urged the entire nation to rally behind all of the Philippines’ bets.

“After all, we are not just chasing medals, we are sprinting towards making history, bringing honor to our country, and inspiring us all,” said Marcos.

“We’ll cheer our hearts out for you,” Marcos added in a mix of Filipino and English. “Even if we’re here in Manila, you’ll hear us all the way in Paris.”

Team Philippines will hold a month-long camp in Metz – a city one hour away from Paris – before the Olympics comes off the wraps on July 26. –

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.