Nothing's Sweeter than Honor
John Paul Marquez

Philippines is one of the most dominant countries in Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) but things seemed to fall apart in every Olympic Game for us.

With 11 athletes to represent our country in the 2012 London Olympics, this is also the smallest delegation in the history of Philippines in Olympics since 1932. 11 hopes for the medals and 11 honors for the country.

Every athlete's dream is to play in the Olympics and represent their country, and off course to win a medal/s and that is what Mark Javier and Rachel Cabral of Archery, Rene Herrera (300m) and Marestella Torres (Long Jump) of Athletics, Light flyweight fighter Mark Barriga, BMX rider Daniel Caluag, Tomohiko Hoshina of Judo, Shooter Brian Rosario, Swimmers Jessie Lacuna and Jasmine Alkhaldi and the flag bearer weight lifter Hidilyn Diaz are hoping for. They are trying to get their luck and strive to edge for the medals.

July 28, 4:00 am (Phil.time), the greatest show on earth started, performance coming from the superstars of Great Britain and the athletes parade was witnessed worldwide. As Queen Elizabeth II declares the opening of the Olympics, hopes, dreams and eagerness begin.

It all started from Jessie Lacuna who fell short after digging a time of 1:52:91 and finished the track in the fifth place in his heat. Another loss is that of Daniel Caluag who didn’t qualify for the next round after he scored 29 total points, was also the slowest rider in the seeding round with 40.900 seconds.

Caluag is the remaining athlete to represent the Philippines since his race last August 9 after Rene Herrera’s defeat in athletics, finidhing last in their heat with the time of 14:44:11. It was his personal best record but still wasn't enough time for him to qualify for the next round. The flag bearer Diaz made a strong kick-off when she lifted 97kgs in the snatch, but badly in the clean and jerk she wasn't able to lift 118kgs in her three attempts, ending her campaign in the Olympics.

Mark Barriga shocked the country after he chased down Manuel Cappai of Italy in their light flyweight showdown tallying for 17-7 advantage and in that win he called as the “Little Pacman.”

Barriga, together with the Philippineas, gained a lot of momentum after he advanced to the round of 16. Everyone's holding on their breath wishing to get at least a medal in that sport, like what Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco did in 1996 Atlanta Olympics where he got a silver. But unexpected things happened when Barriga seized a penalty that leads to a deduction to him and an additional point to his opponent. In the end, Barriga failed to advance in the quarter after he suffered a 17-16 heart breaking loss to Kazakhstan’s Birzhan Zhakypov.

Those losses really killed the dream of the Philippines. Silver has been our greatest achievement in Olympic history, courtesy of Anthony Villanueva in 1964 Tokyo Olympics when he lost to Soviet’s Union Stanislav Stepashkin in their gold medal match and Mansueto Velasco in 1996 Atlanta Olympics in his defeat against Bulgaria’s Daniel Petrov both from Boxing. Now, we have a total of only nine medals since the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics.

It was in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics when we last grabbed a medal. Now, we are looking forward to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, at the same time, anticipating to finally capture some medals in that event. After this Olympics we have to wait for another four years, dreaming to furnish our brand new hopes aand dreams.

Four years will be enough to prepare for that event, four years will be enough to produce some athletes, four years will be enough to build a dream. Hoping that after four years, all the sacrifices we drained will finally produce a sweet honor.

Another Olympics has been ended and we end up nothing but the pride, nothing but the honor and nothing but our passion in sport. We may don’t have those medals but we have those athletes who will try to recover and get some medals and honors after four years.

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