In all my years as a sportswriter, there has never been a month like this one. And what a boost it has been for women’s sports in Cebu.
First, Margielyn Didal earned her spot in the Olympics on June 5, then seven days later, Elreen Ando got her Tokyo spot after earning a continental allocation for weightlifting.
The unassuming University of Cebu (UC) lifter will be making her Olympic debut, just like Didal.
Twelve days later Kiyomi Watanabe officially made it after earning a continental spot for judo. I say officially because since last year she’s been knocking on the doors of the Olympiad, waiting only for the final pre-Olympic rankings to get the official nod.
Now that’s three Cebuanas in the Olympic games. That hasn’t happened before.
I know we’re a bit busy with the Covid response and that our city mayor is on leave but I wish there could have been more fanfare from City Hall regarding this development.
Some good news for a change.
Didal. Ando. Watanabe. Skateboarding. Weightlifting. Judo.
We all know what happened to skateboarding in Cebu when Didal won the gold in the Asiad, I hope Ando and Watanabe too will inspire more girls to take up weightlifting and judo with their stints in Tokyo.
Countless kids have taken to running, thanks to Tabal, let’s hope the same will hold true for others.
Let’s face it. I know it’s 2021 but there’s still some reluctance in some about girls getting into sports, especially skateboarding, weightlifting and judo. I hope that disappears when we see the three wear the country’s colors in Tokyo.
Oh, by the way, it will be the country’s colors Ando will be wearing. After writing about how I wish to see her wear what has become the iconic University of Cebu colors in the games, seeing that a picture like that would become a piece of Cebu school sports history, Augusto Go wrote that while he was elated to have a UC athlete in the games, he has advised her to wear the country’s colors in the sporting world’s biggest stage.
While most will see it as an athlete showing school pride, in this era when some are quick to bash, some will misinterpret it and it’s best that it’s avoided.