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PSC chief Ramirez sets 2-gold goal for PH in Tokyo Olympics

Caloy Yulo is currently on top of the world floor exercise rankings, further boosting the Philippines' hopes of taking the Olympic gold. Jade Moya (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Many sports fans and pundits believe that the Philippine team this year has the best chance of winning the elusive Olympic gold medal.

But if Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez is to ask: Why not go for two?

Ramirez set a somehow ambitious goal for the Nationals to take two golds in Tokyo this year.

Considering that the Philippines has yet to win the gold in the Olympiad since it began participating in 1924, Ramirez's wish can be considered audacious.

In fact, he admitted that he has no scientific basis for setting that goal.

But according to the top official, the improvement of the Filipinos as the years pass by as well as the upsides of the current crop of those who already qualified or are still vying for Olympic qualification factored in his goal.

"If you look at the evolution of the Philippines participating in the Olympics, itong panahon na ito ang nakikita natin na napakaraming potentials," Ramirez said.

Four athletes, namely gymnast Caloy Yulo, pole vaulter EJ Obiena, and boxers Irish Magno and Eumir Marcial, have formally booked their spots in Tokyo.

Yulo soared to the world number one in the men's floor exercise rankings, while Obiena got one gold in an pole vaulting event in Europe just as the continent began resuming sporting events amid the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

Marcial, on the other hand, has formally entered professional boxing and debuted with an impressive unanimous decision victory against Andrew Whitfield last month.

Around 20 more are still vying to join Yulo, Obiena, Marcial, and Magno in the final Philippine team for the Tokyo Olympics.

Cinches to qualify include weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, the silver medalist in the 2016 Rio Olympics, and karateka Junna Tsukii.

Meanwhile, Ramirez added that the fact that Diaz overcame the odds to capture the weightlifting silver in Rio De Janeiro and Yulo, despite his short frame, stunned everyone with his impressive performance in 2019 further fueled his goal for the national team to get two golds.

"Hidilyn Diaz proved that she can and Caloy proved it in the international circuit, so malaki ang chances natin," Ramirez further said.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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