January 31, 2023

Filipino weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz’s historic gold medal win in the Tokyo Olympics on July 26 has inspired Filipino athletes to never give up on their dreams to also win a gold in the Summer Games in the future.
Countless Cordilleran athletes, who are members of national squads, were inspired when Diaz ended the country’s gold medal drought for almost a century since it first joined the Olympics in 1924 in Paris.
Aside from the gold medal, the 30-year-old Diaz also set two Olympic records – one for the 127-kg. in clean and jerk, and with her 97-kg. in snatch achieved a total of 224-kg., which is also an Olympic record.
Cordilleran athletes and coaches shared the view the government must review its current sports development program to also give priorities to the deve-lopment of individual sports.
Among those who sent their best wishes to Diaz prior to her historic win is former national wushu squad member, now professional mixed martial arts fighter Eduard Folayang, who is a three-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist and an Asian Games silver medalist.
Diaz, who was still a young member of the national weightlifting squad, and Folayang were in one training camp in China back in 2007 when they were preparing for the wild card qualifications.
Many sports analysts claim Filipino athletes are most likely to win more Olympic gold medals in individual sports such as taekwondo, boxing, golf, karate, and weightlifting.
Cordillera is home to some of the finest full-contact sports athletes such as wushu, Muaythai, kickboxing, and MMA, which are not yet accredited in the Olympics.
Folayang also sent his best wishes to the remaining Filipino athletes competing in the Olympics.
Among them are University of Baguio boxers Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam.
“I just want to tell Team Philippines to give everything you can by the guidance of God. You are representing this nation in different sports and we’re praying for a successful run. You have to think of all the hardships that you went through to be there,” Folayang said.
“You have to make the most out of the opportunity. Just think of the legacy that you will be leaving behind if you’re able to get what you truly wish for. I am really praying for you guys. I hope you all bring home medals,” he added. – Harley F. Palangchao