Two of the world’s top wire services have listed weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz and boxers Eumir Marcial and Nesthy Petecio as among the athletes to watch in the Tokyo Olympics which officially starts on Friday, July 23.
Diaz was listed as among the five weightlifters to watch by the AFP while the Associated Press is projecting a bronze medal finish in the 55-kg category for the four-time Olympian who bagged a silver in the 2016 Rio Games.
The 30-year-old is hoping to be on top of the podium this time and end the country’s long wait for an Olympic gold.
“(Diaz) stands to be feted across the sprawling Pacific archipelago if she can realize her dream of becoming the first Filipino gold medal winner,” the AFP said.
Marcial, meanwhile, was pegged by the AP to claim the gold in the middleweight division. No Filipino boxer has been given high expectations since Sports Illustrated listed Harry Tanamor as a gold medal winner in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Tanamor, however, was eliminated in the Manyo Plange of Ghana in the round-of-32.
“Hard-hitting middleweight Eumir Marcial, who is signed to Manny Pacquiao’s promotional company and has trained with Freddie Roach, will attempt to win the Philippines’ first gold medal,” the AP said when it listed Marcial as among the boxers to watch.
Female boxer Nesthy Petecio, on the other hand, is projected by the AP to claim a bronze medal in the women’s featherweight category.
Like Marcial, Petecio is making her Olympic debut with a bid to secure the Philippines’ f