Tokyo hot for golfers; 2 boxers in big fights
TOkyo—bianca Pagdanganan stayed within striking distance while Yuka Saso refused to melt under the sweltering Japanese summer heat as golf resumed with the women’s event where the country is pinning its chances to add to the gold medal Hidilyn Diaz already won in weightlifting.
Pagdanganan went two-under 69 to find herself tied with eight others at seventh place behind Sweden’s Madeline Sagstrom, who fired a five-under 66 on a day when the heat index topped 37.8 Celsius and players were cooling themselves down with ice packs, and caddies found themselves in the medical tent for treatment for heat exhaustion.
e 23-year-old longest hitter of the Ladies Professional Golf Association was tied with reigning Olympic champion Inbee Park of South Korea and Danielle Kang of the US.
Saso, on the other hand, wound up with a 74 at the par-71 Kasumigaseki Golf Club course in Kawagoe. She played the first round with a replacement caddie as Lionel Matichuck recovers in a hospital from heat stroke.
Pagdanganan’s team? It wasn’t spared the heat with her coach, Carito Villaroman, spending much of the morning resting due to dehydration.
Two men with lethal fists— Eumir Felix Marcial and Carlo Paalam—meanwhile, resume the country’s gold medal quest in boxing at the Kokugikan Arena on
ursday. Paalam climbs the ring first in a flyweight bout at 1:30 p.m. (Manila time) hoping to summon all his big punches to dominate Japanese Ryomei Tanaka.
Marcial, who earned a reputa
tion as the knockout king of the Tokyo Games, faces Ukraine’s Oleksandr Khyzhniak in a middleweight semifinal battle starting at 2:03 p.m. (Manila time).
Victories by both would guarantee them silver medals and shots at the same gold medals Hidilyn Diaz won in women’s weightlifting two Mondays ago.
THE first gold medal—plus the Olympic records—were the result of years of hard work Hidilyn Diaz and her “Team HD” put together to make Philippine sports history at the Tokyo Olympics.
And Diaz said she is forever thankful for winning the gold medal in the women’s–55 kgs class of weightlifting.
Looking back, Diaz said that the journey started when she placed ninth overall in the 2018 World Weightlifting Championship in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, one of the qualifying tournaments for the Tokyo Olympics,.
“For me, for ‘Team HD’ we’ll always look back to what we have went through in the past,” Diaz said. “It wasn’t easy, there were doubts at the start of the journey, but we never gave up.”
“I won’t forget the feeling when I finally won the gold medal, and more so, the preparations and training that we put together to achieve our goal,” she said. “... everything that we did, the hard work and sacrifices for our beloved country.”
“Team HD” is composed of Diaz, Chinese mentor Gao Kaiwen, strength and conditioning coach Julius Naranjo, sports nutritionist Jeaneth Aro and psychologist Dr. Karen Trinidad.
“Team HD’S” journey was featured in a four-part documentary series on the Facebook page of Kick-start Coffee Brewed Awakening entitled “Let’s Go HD!”
The documentary series allowed the Zamboanga City native to do a “video diary” naturally done in a free flowing and heartfelt videos where it showed glimpses of the struggles and the highs and lows of being an elite athlete while she was in training camp in Malaysia.
“I hope to inspire a lot of Filipino people [with the documentary]. That’s the purpose,” said Diaz, 30. “For all our fellow Filipinos to know about the journey and be inspired.”
Diaz set two Olympic records on her way to the gold medal—at 127kgs on her third and last attempt at clean and jerk and her total of 224 kgs.
She beat China’s Liao Qiuyun, the world record holder who finished at 223 kgs following her 97 kgs in snatch and 126kgs in clean and jerk to earn a silver medal. Kazakhstan’s Chinshanlo Zulfiya placed third with a total of 213kgs—90 kgs in snatch and 123 kgs in clean and jerk.