GMA News Online
Pinoy Abroad
»
Pinoy Achievers

11 of best Pinoy athletes seek gold in 2012 London Summer Olympics

July 27, 2012 2:30pm
(Updated 5:54 a.m. - July 28) Eleven of the Philippines' best athletes  – the country's smallest Olympic delegation in history – will go for the gold in the 2012 London Summer Olympics that will begin on Friday (Saturday in the Philippines).

Four of the 11 athletes made it to the Olympics because every country is required to send in a delegation for the swimming and athletics category:

Jhessie Khing Lacuna – Swimming
 
Jasmine Alkhaldi – Swimming 
 
Marestella Torres – Athletics 
 
Rene Herrera – Athletics
 
 
The rest of the country's representatives will be in the Olympics after winning qualifying matches held in different countries:
 
Paul Brian Rosario – Shooting 
 
 
Hidilyn Diaz – Weight lifting
 
Daniel Caluag – Cycling 
 
Rachel Ann Cabral – Archery 
 
Mark Javier – Archery 
 
Mark Anthony Barriga – Boxing 



 
According to a report of Isay Reyes for GMA's public affairs show "State of the Nation" (SONA), the athletes had time to unwind, riding London's “trademark” red double-decker bus, before the start of the Olympics.
 
Alkhaldi said, "We went to see the St. Paul Cathedral where Princess Diana got married. Yeah, they showed us where the London Bridge is.” 
 
Diaz, the Philippine’s flag bearer during the opening ceremony, said, “Masaya, siyempre kasi sa eleven athletes ako yung pinili so siyempre proud din ako.” 

Diaz is competing a second time in the Olympics for the weight lifting category. 
 
Buddy Andrada, the Commissioner of the PHL Sports Commission, said it was not easy to join the Olympics.
 
“To qualify in the Olympics is really very very hard. It will take you sometimes to go all over the world to qualify and attend these qualifying events,” he reiterated.
 
“It is a tournament by itself. Kailangan talunin mo sila. You have to be the best,” he added. 

The best of the best

More than 10,000 athletes from 204 countries will compete in 26 sports over 17 days of competition in the only city to have staged the modern Games three times.
 
Although no medals will be awarded until Saturday, the women's soccer tournament started on Wednesday, and on Friday South Korean archers set the first world records of the Games.
 
Their three-man team totalled 2,087 points at Lord's Cricket Ground as Im Dong-hyun, who suffers from severe myopia and just aims at "a blob of yellow color", broke his own 72-arrow world record with a score of 699 out of a possible 720.
 
The Games' first medals will be decided in the women's 10 meters air rifle final on Saturday, with the big action coming in the men's road race where world champion Mark Cavendish is favourite to become Britain's first gold medallist.
 
In the evening, Americans Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte are scheduled to line up for a classic confrontation in the men's 400 metres individual medley final.
 
Phelps, competing in seven events after winning a record eight gold medals four years ago in Beijing, is bidding to become the first swimmer to win gold in the same discipline three times in a row.
 
"This is going to be a special race," said Gregg Troy, head coach of the American men's team. "I can't imagine a better way to promote our sport than a race like this on the first day."

All eyes on London

The opening show, costing an estimated 27 million pounds ($42 million), is inspired by William Shakespeare's play "The Tempest", his late-life meditation on age and mortality.
 
The sound and images of children's choirs singing in the landscapes of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were beamed into the stadium's giant screens, four different songs woven together into a musical tapestry of Britain.
 
The ceremony's snapshot of British history started with a depiction of the pastoral idyll mythologised by the romantic poet William Blake as "England's green and pleasant land", degenerating with the Industrial Revolution into "dark Satanic mills".
 
One of the most spectacular moments brought the audience to a hush. Five giant, incandescent, interlocking Olympic rings, symbolically forged in those steel mills, were lifted out of the stadium by weather balloons, headed for the stratosphere.
 
Many sequences turned the entire stadium into a vast video screen made up of tens of thousands of "pixels" attached to spectators' seats. One giant message, in tribute to Tim Berners-Lee, British inventor of the world wide web, read "This is for Everyone".
 
The performance included surreal and often humorous references to British achievements, especially in social reform and the arts, and was due to conclude with a performance by former Beatle Paul McCartney.
 
Until the past few days, media coverage has been dominated by security firm G4S's admission that it could not provide enough guards for Olympic venues. Thousands of extra soldiers had to be deployed at the last minute, despite the company's multi-million-dollar contract from the government.
 
Counter-terrorism chiefs have played down fears of a major attack on the Games, and Prime Minister David Cameron said that a safe and secure Olympics was his priority.
 
"This is the biggest security operation in our peacetime history, bar none, and we are leaving nothing to chance."
 
Suicide attacks on London on July 7, 2005, the day after London was awarded the Games, killed 52 people. This year the Games will mark the 40th anniversary of the 1972 Munich massacre, when 11 Israeli Olympic team members were killed by Palestinian militants. - with reports from Reuters/Andrei Medina/VVP/ELR, GMA News