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Another medal-less campaign for PH in 1960 Rome Olympics


Following the political turmoil in Melbourne, the Olympics moved to relatively peaceful Rome in 1960 for the XVII Games.

Abebe Bhikila of Ethiopia sprinted barefooted down the Appian Way to the finish line like the races in ancient Greece to rule the torch-lit moonlight marathon.

American athletics legend Wilma Rudolph, who suffered from a crippling string of childhood ailments, including malnutrition, polio, double pneumonia, and scarlet fever, among others, stopped the Soviet women’s massive sweep of athletics, crowning herself the Games “Fastest Woman.”


Skipper Charlie Badion and coach Arturo Rius (extreme right) pose for a photo with members of the PH team to the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome. PHOTO FROM EDDIE G. ALINEA’S FILE

And 18-year-old boxer Cassius Marcellus Clay, who later changed his name to Muhammad Ali, charmed his fellow athletes and fans alike by pummeling Poland’s Zhignew Piertrzykowski to claim the light heavyweight gold.

For the third straight Olympics, the Philippines’ 41-athlete and 19-official delegation went home medal-less and teary-eyed with only a quarterfinal round appearance of sprinter Mona Sulaiman in athletics to brag about.

The boyish-looking Sulaiman finished second in her heat in the 100 meters in 12.1-second clocking to gain entry in the next round.

A sixth place wind up in the quarters in a poor 12.4-second efforts in the round, ended, though, her and the national contingent’s hope for a podium finish in the century dash.

In the 200 meters, Sulaiman, who was to join the Philippine Constabulary upon retirement, could only end up fourth in the trials in 25.8 and was eliminated.

Other Filipino runners, throwers and jumpers — Isaac Gomez, Enrique Bautista, Remigio Vista, Rogelio Onofre, Claro Pellosis, and Visitacion Badana Ribagorda — were all wiped out in their respective heats.

For the first time since basketball was first contested in the Olympics in 1936, the national team, captained by Carlos “Boom Boom” Badion failed to land in the top 10 of the final standing.

The Nationals, coached by Arturo Rius and made up also of relatively new faces Emilio Achacoso, Kurt Bachmann, Narciso Bernardo, Geronimo Cruz, Alfonso Marquez, Ed Ocampo, Constancio Ortiz, Edgardo Pacheco, Cristobal Ramas, Edgardo Roque and Roberto Yburan, submitted an even 4-4-win loss record.

They carded 3-3 after the elimination round and were relegated into the battle for ninth 19 places where they lost one and won one of their assignments failing to match their 1936 predecessors’ fifth place windup, 1952’s ninth and 1956’s seventh.

The boys of Coach Rius, though, surpassed their 1948 predecessors’ 12th effort.

The Philippines sent just a lone boxer in 1960, flyweight Segundo Macalalad, who lost his opening bout.

Like their counterparts in athletics, marksmen Hernando Castelo, Cesar Jayme, Adolfo Feliciano, Bernardo San Juan, Jose Agdamag Jr., Horacio Miranda and Enrique Beech, didn’t figure out in the medal play.

So did pool sharks Bana Sailani, Antonio Salaso, Lorenzo Cortes, Freddie Elizalde, Ahiron Radjate, Amirhussin Hamsain, Haydee Espino and Sandra von Giese as well as weightlifters Alberto Canlas and Alberto Nogar.

The yachting team (Dragon Class) of Fausto Preysler, Jesus Villareal, Francisco Gonzales and Jaime Prieto ended up 24th in the field of 27 crews.


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