By Marc Anthony ReyesPhilippine Daily InquirerFirst Posted 04:13:00 08/04/2008
MANILA, Philippines—Finally, a fearless forecast of the Philippines’ Olympic expedition: Medals in taekwondo and boxing; gold in the special sport of wushu.
Philippine Sports Commission chair Butch Ramirez Sunday ended the game of playing safe, daring to predict that the 15-man Filipino contingent to the Beijing Olympics will not come home empty-handed.
“The preparation is completed and based on what I see, we can win medals in taekwondo and boxing,” said Ramirez. “And either gold or silver in wushu.”
He didn’t say what kind of medal is coming from the two combat sports—generally regarded as the country’s best-ever hopes to end a gold drought—but whatever it is, it would be the first medal for the country since the 1996 Atlanta silver snagged by boxer Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco.
Taekwondo and boxing officials later took the prediction farther, saying they are confident their bets can win no less than the gold medals in the Olympics which begin on Friday.
“We have prepared him to last until the finals, so we simulated five fighting days,” said boxing chief Manny Lopez of his lone bet, Harry Tañamor, who will fight in the light flyweight division that host China, through Zou Shiming, has counted as one of its gold medal possibilities.
Tañamor starts fighting Aug. 16.
Taekwondo head and POC chair Robert Aventajado said Tshomlee Go (-58kg) and Mary Antoinette Rivero (-67kg), the country’s bets in the taekwondo competitions that begin Aug. 20, are ready to mix it up with the Koreans and the Chinese.
Unfortunately, the sport that enjoys a lofty billing for the PSC chief doesn’t belong yet to the regular roster.
Blog Credits: Philippine Daily Inquirer
Led by world champion Willy Wang, Wushu artists battle for gold in a sport that is included in the Olympic calendar only for demonstration purposes.