Archive for 2008 Beijing Olympics

The Future Of The Philippine Olympic Swimming Team

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippines Sports with tags , , , , , on August 19, 2008 by South Arts Festival
The Future Of Philippine Olympic Swimming

The Future Of Philippine Olympic Swimming

The Philippine Olympic Swimming Team that represented the country in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games were composed mostly of Fil-Americans who were varsity swimmers at the collegiate level back in the United States. With the advantage of first-world training facilities and very expert coaches, they were indeed the best that the Philippines had to offer.

During a recent drinking session, the topic of the Olympics came up and of course the topics ranged form the buzz on the performance of the Philippine Olympians. When the event of swimming came up to discussion, it was noted that most (if not all) of the members of the Philippine Olympic Swimming Team were Filipino-Americans. We found it quite ironic that for a country that is completely surrounded by ocean, the Philippines still has to rely on finding swimmers from another nation. Well, of course, the open water of the Pacific is in nowhere in the same ball park as a 50m chlorinated swimming pool, but I just wanted to point out that swimming should be one of our stronger events, considering that the Philippines is surrounded by water.

Now, if they can’t swim, then perhaps they can master the sport of rowing or kayaking. After all, most Filipino citizens who live by the ocean, and rely on the ocean for livelihood do certainly also know how to paddle a banca. Change the banca into a kayak, and perhaps we might have a future FIlipino Olympian win an  Olympic Gold Medal in sculling.

But going back to swimming – It is not unusual for a country to hire experts of another nation for training. We do that with our swimmers, and send them to the United States for further training just because of the fact that we don’t have enough qualified trainers in the country. But then, that doesn’t mean that we have to limit our choices to Filipino swimmers who had the privilege of international training.

I’d like to think that the Muro-Ami swimmers – those kids who dive several depths and can remain under water for a lengthy amount of time in one breath when they scare the fish into the nets – should be taken in and given the opportunity to develop their skills with the proper professional training in order to become competitive for the Olympics.

I firmly believe, that with all the ocean surrounding the country, there is a Filipino swimmer who can win an Olympic gold medal.

Philippine Olympic Team’s Gold Medal Pursuit Rests With Taekwondo Jins

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine Current Events, Philippine Events, Philippine News, Philippines Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 16, 2008 by South Arts Festival
Taekwondo Events Last Hope For Philippines To Win Olympic Medal

Taekwondo Events Last Hope For Philippines To Win Olympic Medal

Well, it’s almost all but done for the Philippine Olympic Team, who failed to grab a medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Of course, it isn’t over yet. Of the 15 athletes that represented the Philippines in Beijing, there are 13 of them who have dropped out any kind of medal contention. Those who gave their best efforts for the first Olympic Gold medal of the Philippines, but lacked out were – trapshooter Eric Ang, athletics representatives Marestella Torres and Henry Dagmil, divers Sheila Mae Perez and Rexel Ryan Fabriga, swimmers Daniel Coakley, Ryan Paolo Arabejo, Miguel Molina, James Walsh and Joan Christel Simms, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz and archer Mark Javier.

The only hope now for the Philippine Olympic Team to grab a gold medal – or any medal for that matter – at the 2008 Beijing Olympics will rest on the shoulders of Taekwondo jinsToni Rivero and Tshomlee Go.

Whatever happens in the pursuit of the Olympic Gold in Beijing this 2008, I am still proud of the Filipinos who competed. Even without an Olympic medal. Of course, now it’s back to the drawing board before 2012 in London.

Philippine Olympic Swimmer JB Walsh Brings Some Good News and Some Bad News From Beijing

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine Current Events, Philippine News, Philippines Sports with tags , , , , , , , on August 12, 2008 by South Arts Festival

First, the good news:

Filipino-American JB Walsh emerged as the winner in Heat 2 of the Men’s 200-m butterfly swimming event. Not bad! Walsh finished 1:59.39, and while that time is still a far cry from the Olympic record of 1:54.04 set by USA’s Michael Phelps in the 2004 Athens Olympics, JB Walsh still earns a record as the first Filipino to swim through 200m under two minutes. I guess his training under 1988 Seoul Olympics gold medalist Anthony Nestey is paying off well.

Now, the bad news:

JB Walsh did not make it into the 16-man semis as his time ranked at 29th among the 44 swimmers of the event. He is ranked among the top 30 in the world in this event. At age 22, JB Walsh can still add some more training in order for him to improve in the 2012 London Olympics and possibly bring home an Olympic Gold Medal for the Philippines.

Even if he didn’t qualify for the semifinals, it was amazing enough to see a Filipino come out first in a heat, and besting a whole bunch of others from around the world. That alone is amazing, and was sure a moment of excitement for the Filipinos who got to watch. Olympics iyan, pare! For a brief shining moment, the Philippines stood proud!

Have some Philippine pride. Watch the video!

Philippine Olympic Team Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz Bows Out Of Medal Contention in 2008 Beijing Olympics

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine Current Events, Philippine News, Philippines Sports with tags , , , , , , on August 12, 2008 by South Arts Festival
Philippine Olympic Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz

Philippine Olympic Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz

17 year-old Hidilyn Diaz started her weightlifting career by sheer necessity. Growing up at Zamboanga at a young age, Hidilyn Diaz used to fetch water for her family’s use since they had no direct access to their community’s water supply. Yup, Taga-igib ng tubig!

At around age 11, she started her weightlifting training and was introduced by some of her relatives who used to compete at the national level. Once upon a time in the gym, Hidilyn Diaz bested some of the guys lifting weights, and she became an instant phenom. Standing only 4’11”, Hidilyn Diaz is the first Filipino weightlifter to be baned to the Philippine Olympic Team since 1988.

At the age of 13, Hidilyn Diaz was admitted into the national pool and given formal training to be among the best powerlifters of the Philippines. She placed 10th in the 53-kilogram class of the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar, and won the team gold medal in the 2007 SEA Games in Thailand in the 58-kilogram class. She was given a wildcard berth to the Olympics by the International Weightlifting Federation because of her 2007 SEA Games performance.

Well, she didn’t get much time to prepare for the 2008 Olympics, but she was very excited to represent the Philippines and be a part of the Philippine Olympic Team. Indeed, Hidilyn Diaz went all-out to do her best.

“I can’t wear sexy gowns or high heels. I can’t have a boyfriend and I walk like a boy. Sometimes I get jealous as my female friends go to school while I have to lift weights,” explained HIdilyn Diaz.

Such is the life of this Olympian, and it would’ve been a great Cinderella story if she could’ve pulled off winning a medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. However, as it stands, Hidilyn Diaz crashed out of the weightlifting event in the 58-kilogram category, ending up at 11th place out of the 12 contenders for the Olympic Gold Medal.

I’m still optimistic for Hidilyn Diaz, whom I expect to be back again for another shot at an Olympic Gold Medal in the 2012 London Olympics. After all, she is still young, and perhaps a few more years of proper training could definitely improve her. If ever, she will only be around 21 years old for the 2012 London Olympics. Unlike, say, Philippine Olympic trap shooter Eric Ang who is already 37 years-old, and might have a failing eyesight when he shoots in 2012.

Hidilyn, forget about the high heels and sexy gowns, and the boyfriend! Just lift those weights and get an Olympic Gold Medal. No Filipino has ever had that! And once you got it, I’m sure someone there won’t mind sponsoring some cosmetic surgery ala Vicky Belo for you to have your time in the spotlight with the sexy gown and the high heels. Get those 4″ stilettos so you can stand out at 5’3″. The boyfriend? You can always have more than one!

Philippine Olympic Shooter Dead Last in 2008 Beijing Olympics

Posted in All About The Philippines, Duke420 Articles, Philippine Current Events, Philippine News, Philippines Sports with tags , , , , , , on August 11, 2008 by South Arts Festival
More Practice, Eric Ang!

More Practice, Eric Ang!

Philippine Olympic Trap Shooter Eric Ang had a dismal final round in the trap shooting event, which landed him at dead last in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and will be taking home the Plastic Medal, or is it the Paper Medal, or is it Rust Medal? There has to be some consolation for someone who comes in dead last.

Anyway, the 37-year old businessman from Laoag, Eric Ang, faired much better in the Men’s Trap event at the ISSF World Cup held in Germany, and was expected to be among the top in the sport in the upcoming Olympics. However, it seems like Eric Ang shot himself in the foot (pun intended).

“Hilong-hilo pa rin ako after the event (I was still too dizzy after the event)… Pressure in the Olympics is different, you have to prepare long enough,” said Eric Ang, “Actually, this is the fourth or fifth Olympics for at least 75% of the competitors… The others are used to the pressure,” he added.

Well, that’s your reason and we can’t really do much about that, but really now Mr. Ang, what else did you expect in the Olympics? Thanks for the honesty.

Apparently, Eric Ang practices in his own shooting range in Laoag, and maybe that isn’t the real practice required to compete in the level of the Olympics.

Shooting president Art Macapagal said, “Shooting is a mental, psychological game” and apparently Eric Ang just broke down in the mental, psychological game when he couldn’t find his groove.

“I would like to qualify again. Next time I’ll be ready,” Eric Ang said.

Well, next time, I hope we have better representation in that sport. How hard can trap shooting be? You shoot clay birds with a shotgun. Eric Ang’s shotgun was a 3 year-old Beretta DT 10. Not that the shotgun was faulty, but then it’s a bit sad that he couldn’t hit a clay bird with a shotgun. A shotgun!!! Maybe we should give an opportunity for other gun-toting countrymen, like the ones based in the Coridllera Mountains, or maybe in Mindanao. Whether it be from the Philippine Army or from the MILF rebel faction, at least, maybe they might do better than DEAD LAST!

Besides, certainly these shooters are much more prepared and could probably deal with the pressure. I mean – they shoot more than just birds, and they shoot even when being fired at. And surely they have several years of experience firing a gun against all sorts of moving targets. Clay birds with a shotgun should be a breeze!

Send Eric Ang to Mindanao to train for the 2012 London Olympics!