From August 18th to September 2nd, the Philippine team participated in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia. We sent 272 athletes to the games this year, which happens every four years. Back here at home we have been receiving reports that our women athletes have been grabbing majority of the medals for the Philippines. We congratulate all the winners, men and women alike, for bringing honor to the country. As of this writing, the Philippines is ranked 19th with a total of 21 medals in the 2018 Asian Games.
One of our favorite athletes, Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz, returned home with a gold medal for the weightlifting competition. Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan and Lois Kaye Go also captured gold medals in the individual golf and team golf events. Margielyn Didal, the 19-year-old professional skateboarder, got the gold in skateboarding, while 22-year-old Kiyomi Watanabe shined in judo as she managed to win a silver. The other female awardees are Margarita Ochoa (silver medal in ju-jitsu), Agatha Pauline Wong (bronze in wushu), Divine Wally (bronze in wushu), Cherry Mae Regalado (bronze in pencak silat), and Junna Tsukii (bronze in karate). Our female team for taekwondo composed of Janna Oliva, Juvenile Crisostomo and Rinna Babanto also brought home a bronze medal.
Despite the victories, we know there is a sad story in this. This time Diaz was vocal about the lack of support for athletes, but we all know that many other Philippine athletes suffer the same fate. In one interview she said that the demands from the athletes are high and not commensurate to the support that they receive. When even an Olympic medalist like her is not spared from the unfortunate situation, what more for the rest of our athletes?
We know that many of our athletes come from poor families. For example Didal, child of a sidewalk vendor and a carpenter, still managed to excel at her sport (skateboarding) despite their economic situation. Fueled by the dream of lifting their families out of poverty, many of our athletes devote their lives to practice and discipline. The least that the government could do is support them by providing their needs so they could practice and compete well. This seems to be a simple thing, but apparently it is very hard to deliver.
Everyone is invited to AB5TRAKT, an art exhibit by Hermes Alegre, Salvador Ching, Buds Convocar, Aner Sebastian and yours truly. The show will run at The Saturday Group Gallery, Shangri-La Mall, Fourth Floor, East Wing from September 8 to 21. There will be an Artists Reception on September 8 at 6 p.m. I hope you can find the time to visit the exhibit.