Big winners of 2021 in PH sports

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(Clockwise) Tokyo Olympic medalists Hidilyn Diaz (gold), Nesthy Petecio (silver), Eumir Marcial (bronze) and Carlo Paalam (silver)

MANILA – If there is a discussion about which year should be considered the best in Philippine sport, 2021 should at least be in the conversation.

The past year has brought a lot of good news to sports fans locally amid the 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

This end of the year will face some of the people who have had big successes in 2021.

1. Hidilyn Diaz

The kickoff is nothing short of the Filipino’s first-ever Olympic gold medalist.

Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz’s historic moment on July 26 in Tokyo could even overshadow President Rodrigo Duterte’s latest state-of-the-nation address earlier today.

Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz

Diaz’s feat turned out to be the icing on the cake of what would be the Philippines’ best performance in an Olympics.

2-4. Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam and Eumir Marcial

This led us to the three other Tokyo Olympics medalists.

Although they failed to replicate Diaz’s gold medal conquest, silver medalists Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam, and bronzer winner Eumir Marcial showed the Philippines remain a threat. in Olympic style boxing globally.

Boxer Nesthy Petecio

Considering this year has been the closest the Philippine team have secured the elusive Olympic boxing gold, expect Petecio and Paalam to make a strong comeback at the Paris 2024 Olympics.

While Marcial has already hinted that he will now focus on his professional career from now on, don’t be surprised if he gives the Olympics another shot with the experience he has gained.

5. Yuka Saso

Yuka Saso was on the rise this year, especially when she won the US Women’s Open.

Saso thus became the first Filipino golfer to win a major tournament.

And at 20, the future looks bright for Saso.

Japanese-thread Yuka Saso

However, in 2023 Saso is expected to honor his Japanese citizenship and represent Japan at events.

But whatever happens from now on, we can always be proud of and continue to support the new Filipino golf superstar.

6. EJ Obiena

After setting the new Asian record, EJ Obiena cemented his status as the new pole vault sensation in Asia.

Although he failed to clinch a medal at the Tokyo Olympics, being the only Asian in the final round is something to be cherished.

Not to mention the victories he won during his European tour.

However, while Obiena is a big winner this year, 2021 hasn’t exactly ended well for him.

Boom operator EJ Obiena

He is currently involved in a clash with his national sports association, the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association, over allegations of not immediately paying his coach.

The row prompted the executive board of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) to endorse its ethics committee’s recommendation which declared PATAFA president Philip Ella Juico persona non grata.

POC President Abraham Tolentino, however, said PATAFA maintained POC’s recognition as a national sports association despite the sanction imposed on Juico.

7. Caloy Yulo

Caloy Yulo has shown that he is more than just an expert in floor exercises.

Although he failed in his pet gymnastics event at both the Tokyo Olympics and the World Championships, Yulo proved himself a gymnastics champion by winning all in the jumping horse event. World Championships in Kitakyushu also in Japan.

Gymnast Carlos Yulo

It came a few months after almost snatching bronze in the same event at the Olympics in the Japanese capital.

He finished the year with a silver medal on parallel bars.

Expect Yulo to assert his dominance on the Asian Tour in 2022 with the Asian Games and Southeast Asian Games coming up.

8. Nonito Donaire

At 39, Nonito Donaire is experiencing a career renewal in 2021.

He stunned the world on May 30 when he knocked out Nordine Oubaali for the WBC bantamweight title.

In the process, “The Filipino Flash” became the oldest boxer to win a title in the 118-pound division.

WBC bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire

He successfully defended the belt on December 12 after another knockout victory, this time over Reymart Gaballo in an all-Filipino bout.

What awaits Donaire in 2022 is either a rematch with Japanese star Naoya Inoue or a grudge match against current World Boxing Organization champion John Riel Casimero.

Of course, fans will watch it.

9. The fans

Yes, I can also say that Filipino sports fans are big winners in 2021 as well.

As well as seeing history unfold before their eyes, they ended the year with the chance to see live sports action again after the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) gave them opened their matches.

While some Covid-19 protocols have been set, such as requiring everyone to be fully vaccinated to enter the arena and not to eat anything inside the stands, seeing fans watching matches in the flesh is a good sign that we could go back to how it was before the pandemic.

It came at a price, however, as Quezon City, which hosted the PBA games, and Pasay, which hosted the Chooks-to-Go MPBL Invitational, saw a sharp increase in Covid-19 cases as well as other cities. Metro Manila. which, according to OCTA researcher Guido David, is worrying.

Metro Manila was placed under Alert Level 3 from January 3 to 15, which means PBA matches must again take place behind closed doors and players may need to enter a bubble, possibly with Novotel as the accommodation area assuming the league insists on continuing to the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Hoping that the wave of Covid-19 will subside very soon. (ANP)


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