Carlo Paalam

Carlo Paalam draws inspiration from Hidilyn Diaz, sets sights on Paris

Lynde Salgados
Carlo Paalam draws inspiration from Hidilyn Diaz, sets sights on Paris

PROUD MOMENT. Carlo Paalam and coach Elmer Pamisa bond like father and son.

TEAM ABAP

‘All he needs is more experience and maturity to bring home the gold. I'm certain that he can do it,’ says Carlo Paalam’s coach Elmer Pamisa

At 23 and despite the windfall that comes from his silver medal win, Cagayan de Oro’s Carlo Paalam said he has started drawing inspiration from Tokyo Olympics weightlifting gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz as he set his eyes on Paris in 2024.

The grizzled Diaz, now 30, ended the country’s almost a century-long wait for an Olympic gold by ruling the women’s weightlifting 55kg class in her fourth straight appearance in the world’s biggest and most prestigious sporting arena.

“Hidilyn’s exemplary feat would motivate our very own Carlo Paalam in the 2024 Paris Olympics,” said Cagayan de Oro sports coordinator Jaymar Rivera. “He would turn 26 then and would be more prepared, physically and mentally.”  

Rivera said Paalam still has a long way to go, and the boxer from Talakag, Bukidnon, made it clear he would like to follow in the footsteps of Diaz, who persevered amid rejection, lack of financial support, early setbacks, and even a false accusation.

Paalam’s coach and father figure Elmer Pamisa also said he’s very optimistic of Paalam’s future. 

“All he needs is more experience and maturity to bring home the gold. I’m certain that he can do it,” he said.

Paalam, the youngest competing boxer in the Olympic men’s flyweight category, nearly won the gold but was outclassed by Great Britain’s Galal Yafai, 28. 

He was already there, and the boxing gold was within sight. We were one victory away from it,” said Pamisa. “Pero nablangko lang gyud daw siya sa unang round. Nigaan iyang ulo maong nasingitan.”

(He said he was disoriented and could not focus in the first round, and that was why he got hit hard.)

A little eager but a bit out of rhythm, Paalam fell short as he suffered a first-round knockdown en route to relinquishing the gold-medal match to the much older and much taller Wafai via a 4-1 split decision.

Pamisa said it was his ward’s first knockdown in his more than 50 amateur boxing bouts.

In a Zoom meeting, the former garbage picker said the knockdown taught him a valuable lesson in boxing.

“I’m still thankful for the experience. We learned from it, and we will perform better if I make it to the next Olympics,” said Paalam. – Rappler.com