Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino heaped praises for the national team’s stunning victory over New Zealand at the FIFA Women’s World Cup on Tuesday, July 25, saying God’s hand continues to touch Filipino athletes as they battle odds on the global arena.
On the same day halfway across the globe, the national women’s softball team Blu Girls advanced to the playoffs of the Women’s Softball World Cup following back-to-back victories also over New Zealand, 5-3, and tournament host Italy, 6-5.
Fate, he said, has again presented a valuable gift to Philippine sports on almost the same day and exactly the same month two years ago when weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz Naranjo won the country’s first Olympic gold medal in Tokyo.
“It’s God’s gift,” said Tolentino of that historic 1-0 victory by the Filipinas against World Cup co-host New Zealand at the jampacked Sky Stadium in Wellington. “The Filipinas are the underdogs.”
“Chance favors the prepared mind and in the Filipinas’ case, the prepared team,” added Tolentino as he cited the Philippine Football Federation’s relentless campaign to form the best team ever for the most prestigious tournament available.
July, Tolentino said, has become a winning month for Philippine sports.
“Two years ago, on July 26, 2021, at the massive Tokyo International Forum, Hidilyn Diaz won the Philippines’ first gold Olympic medal,” said Tolentino, who got teary eyed when Diaz was being awarded her gold medal.
“And on Tuesday, July 25, it was the Filipinas’ turn to make sports history—they didn’t only qualify for the World Cup for the first time, they made an impact,” he said, adding the Blu Girls deserve the same level of admiration by also conquering odds against the world’s top softball nations.
Come to think of it, the 23rd Olympiad opens exactly a year from now on July 26, 2024—the 100th year of Philippines participation in the Olympic movement, having debuted in 1924 also in the French capital.
“God willing, and with our athletes training harder and with more dedication and focus, we can do better in Paris,” Tolentino said.