Manila Bulletin

Don’t give up on Olympic dream – Poe

- By NICK GIONGCO GRACE POE

Putting an end to the coun­try’s quest for an Olympic gold medal high­lighted Sen­a­tor Grace Poe’s brief foray into sports dur­ing her speech Wed­nes­day night when she an­nounced her de­sire to seek the pres­i­dency next year.

The Philip­pines, in its 100 years of par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Olympics, hasn’t won a gold medal.

So far, the Philip­pines has brought home a to­tal of nine medals, two sil­vers and seven bronzes.

The clos­est the Philip­pines got to cap­tur­ing the elu­sive gold was in 1964 when An­thony Vil­lanueva lost a con­tro­ver­sial de­ci­sion to Stanislav Stepashkin of Rus­sia in the feath­er­weight fi­nals.

The only other time was in 1996 in At­lanta, when another fighter— light-fly Onyok Ve­lasco—was beaten on points by Daniel Petrov Bu­jilov of Bulgaria.

The seven bronze medal­ists were swim­mer Te­ofilo Ylde­fonso (1928 and 1932), high-jumper Simeon Toribio (1932), boxer Cely Vil­lanueva (1932), hur­dler Miguel White (1936), boxer Leopoldo Ser­antes (1988) and another boxer, Roel Ve­lasco (1992).

Cit­ing the “piti­ful con­di­tions” of Filipino ath­letes, the 47-year-old Poe told the au­di­ence that Filipinos “should never give up on our dream to win an Olympic gold medal.”

The next Olympics, which will be hosted by Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will be held from Aug. to 21 next year with the Philip­pines aim­ing to strike af­ter be­ing shut out in Syd­ney (2000), Athens (2004), Bei­jing (2008) and Lon­don (2012).

“The gov­ern­ment should give im­por­tance and sup­port to the fields of arts and sports. We are known as a cre­ative race of vis­ual artists, writ­ers and per­form­ers, but we do not value them and pro­vide enough as­sis­tance. Even if they bring our coun­try fame, what do they get in re­turn?” added Poe.

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