Sports: The ‘only’ pair of Philippine Olympic Gold Medals so Far
If you still don’t know, the country has won a pair of gold medals in the quadrennial Summer Olympics albeit not during the 2000 Sydney Games, definitely not during the 2004 Athens Olympics nor in the current 2012 London Games (for now!).
In 1988, when the Philippines participated in the Seoul Olympics hosted by South Korea, the nation finished with a solitary bronze medal courtesy of light flyweight boxer Leopoldo Serantes.
The then 26 year-old amateur pug won over Egypt’s Hassan Mustafa (referee stopped contest) in his opening bout followed by a 5-0 thumping of Liberia’s Sammy Stewart before pounding Morocco’s Mahjoub Mjirich (RSC-3) in the quarters.
However, in his semifinals meeting with Bulgarian Ivailo Khristov, Serantes got pummeled in the process and settled for the bronze in a 5-0 whitewashing. The Bulgarian eventually won the light flyweight gold medal over the United States’ Michael Carbajal.
But did you know that aside from Serantes’ bronze medal, another medal was won by bowler Arianne Cerdena in Seoul which not only made the country proud but more than that, her feat remained in the record books as the Philippines’ first gold medal-win in the Summer Olympics followed by Willy Wang.of wushu’s gold medal victory in the 2008 Beijing Games.
Since the 1924 Paris Games, the Philippines has won a total of nine medals: two silver medals courtesy of Anthony Villanueva during the 1964 Tokyo Games and Bago City’s Mansueto ‘Onyok’ Velasco during the 1996 Atlanta Games and seven bronze medals mostly in boxing.
There were 24 participants during the men’s and women’s bowling competition in Seoul, 12 each on both sides and Cerdena came out smoking at the Royal Bowling Center by bagging the priceless gold medal over 11 other competitors on September 18, 1988.
However, Cerdena’s gold medal-triumph didn’t count in the final medal standings as bowling was only a demonstration sport at that time hence the medal remained as an individual accolade for the Filipina kegler. To this date, she’s best remembered for the feat.
Ditto with Wang’s one-of-a-kind victory in Beijing in 2008 when the Filipino wushu star stamped his class in the men’s Nanquan and Nangun Combined where he scored 19.44 for the gold medal in the vent considered as likewise another demonstration sport.
Wang scored 19.44 points overall to edge Taiwan’s Peng Wei-Chua (19.39) and bronze medalist Pui Fook Chien of Malaysia (19.34) by the slimmest of margins!
Right now, in London, six of our 11 Phl athletes have been eliminated particularly in archery (2), swimming (2), shooting (skeet) and women’s weightlifting with high hopes on boxing’s Mark Anthony Barriga following the 19 year-old’s opening round win over his Italian foe a couple of days ago.
As for the other remaining Philippine athletes like athletics’ Rene Herrera and Marestella Torres, cycling’s Daniel Caluag and judo’s Tomohiko Hoshina, chances are they’ll suffer the same fate experienced by their fellow Olympians considering the tough playing field...
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