Now that the elections are over, does Sen. Grace Poe’s vow to make the Philippines a first-time Olympic gold medal winner–in any sport–still hold?
Of course, Poe made the promise when she was still a candidate for the presidency in the May 2016 polls, which was eventually won by Rodrigo Duterte.
But it is fair for her and the very few others to account for what they had said on the campaign trail they will do to save Philippine sports from the 100-year national embarrassment of not being able to produce a first placer in what is regarded as the greatest athletic spectacle in the world.
Even if Poe was unsuccessful in her quest for the highest post in the land, she could still help deliver that precious, precious mint and seal her place in the country’s history.
She has three more years as a senator and as hard as it is to get bills passed in Congress, especially if beneficiaries of a piece of legislation are people who run, swim or shoot, she can try to do something about getting that gold medal.
Or else Cambodia will beat us to it, possibly in the Rio Olympics in August.
In Olympic tae kwon do qualifier in Manila last month, Sorn Seavmey, a young female Cambodian, beat in the championship match the Philippines’ Kirstie Alora—the favorite to win the over 67 kg division—to book a ticket to Rio.
It was not really so surprising, considering that Seavmey was the gold medal winner in the 2014 Asian Games.
She was the first Cambodian ever to qualify outright, male or female, for any Olympic Games.
In the 2016 Olympiad, she and Alora might fight each other, the Filipino jin having also qualified for Rio.
In Brazil this year, Seavmey might yet produce a shocker of a win against the best in the world and, if she does, where will that leave the Philippines?
In the cellar, which is not a nice place to be in, partly because we would be in the company of Bangladesh, Timor Leste and, okay, Faroe Islands, US Virgin Islands, the whole caboodle of also-rans.
Manny Pacquiao to the rescue, come on, we’re serious.
Send the PacMan to the Olympics in Carlos Jobim and Astrud Gilberto country and he will win for us that elusive gintong medalya.
In whatever weight division he will be entered, accommodations will be made for the now-Senator Pacquiao.
For example, he will be given a first-round vie, then his opponent in the next match will get sick, his third match will be stopped for good reason (of course), etc.
We’re kidding? No!
No ring judge in his right mind will make a loser of a senator of the Republic of the Philippines.
Those judges know that the international icon that is today Sen. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao could be the next President of the Philippines.