TOKYO—Irish Magno was the lone member of the Philippine boxing team who did not make the medal round.
She was ineligible for any financial reward until a burst of generosity from the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) and the MVP Sports Foundation (MVPSF) rewarded every member of Team Philippines in the Tokyo Olympics.
Both bodies will award members of the delegation P500,000 each.
“I’m thankful to the POC and the MVPSF for their support from the time when we were preparing, to the time we were competing and until now, at the end of our campaign,” Magno said in Filipino.
This is, however, in no way a mere participation prize, according to POC president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino.
“Everyone on Team Philippines in these ‘Golden Olympics’ deserve all the praises, and in this case, incentives, they need,” said Tolentino.
Going home with the best haul of medals ever, including the country’s first gold in the Olympics, makes this the best delegation sent to the Summer Games.
But even those who didn’t win medals contributed to the aura of triumph the team is basking in. In defeat, they managed to carve their own milestones worth celebrating.
Magno, for one, was the first female boxer to qualify for this Olympics. Rower Cris Nievarez reached the quarterfinals in the men’s single sculls, the farthest a Filipino has ever rowed in an Olympiad. EJ Obiena reached the final in the pole vault, establishing himself this early as a legend in a sport that has never come within sniffing distance of the podium even during PH athletics’ golden years.
Those who fell short
Gymnast Carlos Yulo caught two bad breaks when he failed to nail clean landings in his pet floor exercise and in the vault, where he reached the final. Both Obiena and Yulo proved they belong among the world’s best.
Margielyn Didal, meanwhile, reached the skateboard street final and won hearts with her personality despite failing to land a medal.
“Qualifying for the Olympics is already that difficult, what more competing in the Games themselves,” added Tolentino.
The Philippines chalked up a gold in the medal standings courtesy of Hidilyn Diaz in weightlifting and a silver from Nesthy Petecio in women’s boxing. On Thursday, Eumir Marcial etched a bronze on that tally after bowing to Oleksandr Khyzhniak of Ukraine.
Carlo Paalam will finish with at least a silver and will be gunning for the gold after beating Japanese Ryomei Tanaka in the flyweight semifinals also on Thursday.
Golfers Yuka Saso and Bianca Pagdanganan, meanwhile, are in the midst of their campaign.Other members of the delegation are judoka Kiyomi Watanabe, shooter Jayson Valdez, taekwondo jin Kurt Barbosa, weightlifter Elreen Ando, sprinter Kristina Knott, swimmers Remedy Rule and Luke Gebbie, and golfer Juvic Pagunsan.
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