1988, Seoul. It was that year when I really got aware about the Olympics. Lydia de Vega was the Asia's Sprint Queen then and she qualified for that Olympic year. She didn't win but it kept the country burning in inspiration to reach the top honors of the Olympic games. So every Olympic season, like most Filipinos, I always hope that the Philippines will win its first Olympic gold! We almost had it with Onyok Velasco in 1996 for boxing and we know that we can do it especially when our athletes won the Olympic exhibition games for bowling and taekwando in recent years. Still, there are challenges but nothing can stop our warrior athletes to reap pride and honor for the country.
And now, 2012, the Olympics fever is heating up, and our athletes are ready to fight back. The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), along with Procter and Gamble (P&G) Philippines kicks off the journey of the country’s contingent to the London 2012 Olympic Games with warm wishes and inspirational messages at the Grand Send-off ceremony held recently at The Blue Leaf in Taguig City.
With the valuable support of Olympic partners ICTSI, Bank of the Philippine Islands, Mizuno and Samsonite, as well as backing from Petron, Smart Sports, PRC, SportsCore and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), the event contributed greatly to the motivation and excitement of the athletes who were grateful for the encouragement.
In the message read by Se. Almendras, President Aquino said “I know the world may not be expecting us to take home multiple gold medals. But I believe in the capacity of the Filipino to surprise. I believe in the capacity of the Filipino to be excellent in anything they do – to be world class."
Philippine Olympic Committee President Jose "Peping' Cojuangco meanwhile said, "The most important thing is for our athletes to do their best and show the heart and determination that is present in every Filipino. Our focus is to show the world that we have the makings of champions and that we are unyielding and steadfast in achieving our goals.”
Among the Olympians present were boxer Mark Anthony Barriga, runner Rene Herrera, long-jumper Marestella Torres, swimmers Jessie Khing Lacuna and Jasmine Alkhaldi, shooter Paul Brian Rosario and weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz. Cyclist Daniel Manabat Caluag and Judo athlete Tomohiko Aldaba Shohina weren't able to make it. And last to join the Philippine contingent to the Olympics are archers Mark Javier and Rachel Cabral whose inclusion was just announced during that day.
Dante Manabat Caluag (Cycling - BMX) is among the top 60 riders in the world. He participated in the UCI BMX World Championships. Tomohiko Aldaba Hoshina (Judo - +100 kgs. Super Heavyweight) garnered 17 ranking points in the 2011 World Judo Championships. He's among the 20 Asians to qualify to the London Olympics. Tomohiko is also a 2007 Southeast Asian Games Silver Medalist.
Their moms were, the greatest cheerleaders of the Olympians as they pursued their dreams of Olympic gold. Yet the day’s event went beyond honoring the Olympic delegates as it also recognized the loving mothers behind these athletes’ success.
“P&G’s mission is touching and improving all people’s lives – and what better way to do this during the Olympic year than to honor mothers, who were the very first to see the heroes and champions in our athletes and in all of us, whose love and support helped us to believe in ourselves and our dreams,” explained Mr. Chad Sotelo, P&G Country Marketing Manager.
With this goal in mind, P&G launched its “Thank you Mom” campaign, which seeks to inspire everyone to pay tribute to their own moms and acknowledge the many sacrifices they’ve made to help us become who we are today.
“To our athletes, we wish you the best of luck in the 2012 London Games. In our eyes, you are already winners and we are sure that you will make the country proud,” Sotelo said.
“And to their moms and all Filipino moms, thank you for the love and sacrifice you’ve shown daily that helped create these world-class athletes, and that helped raise everyday heroes. P&G continues to be one with you in your effort to provide the best for your children and your families.”
And with that, I wish our athletes all the best. Even right here, right now, TaDi is already proud of all of you! Let's go for gold! :)