So: How we’re doing in Beijing

By Michelle P. So – HERE’S the numbers for the Philippine team in the Beijing Olympics, as I write this column very, very close to deadline: Our athletes have a few more events to go: one in boxing, one in swimming, two in diving, one in long jump and two in taekwondo.

We got eliminated in the men’s breaststroke and butterfly events in swimming, archery, shooting and weightlifting.

That’s like 50 percent of our hopes dashed and 50 percent of our hopes buoyed. Still good, actually. If you’ve been watching the Games, your faith in the remaining seven Pinoy athletes will keep them going. Power nations such as China, US, Australia, Japan, Great Britain, Russia and Korea as well as the emerging Eastern Europe countries have been dominating the games.

I hope that when this issue is out of the press, Pinoy boxer Harry Tanamor would have beaten his foe, Manyo Plange of Ghana, and would have moved on to the next round. Their elimination bout was scheduled at 8:15 last night. (Update: Tanamor lost)

Tanamor, 29 years old and overweight by 400 grams (can you believe this?!), will make it this time. He was in Athens in 2004 but crumbled the country’s hopes for a medal in a sport that has made Manny Pacquiao as iconic as Bobby Nalzaro. (Yes, ka-level sila but Bobby is gwapo if Manny doesn’t hit him in the face.)

I hope, too, that when Bobby reads this column, swimmer Miguel Molina would have qualified for the finals of the 200m individual medley. In his heat, Molina’s qualifying time was the third best, at 2:03:22. Those are in minutes, not hours, because I’m not talking here of swimmers of the Cebu trimedialympics who take their time finishing a lap like it was a holiday.

There were six heats in the 200m IM, which meant that 47 swimmers competed for the eight final slots. To qualify in the finals, 24-year-old Molina would have to swim faster than a dolphin, finishing four laps in just a little over a minute.

The world’s fastest swimmer, USA’s Michael Phelps, was in Heat 6 in the 200m IM. Phelps’ qualifying time? 1:54:80. Molina, a gold medalist at the 2007 Southeast Asian Games, would have to swim close to this time to make it to the finals.

The elimination heats of the 200m IM were scheduled at 7:30 last night.

The diving events will be held tomorrow, Aug. 15, at 1:30 p.m. We have Sheila Mae Perez competing in the 3-meter springboard and Rexel Fabriga in the 10-meter platform.

Japan and China dominate the diving events but who knows, Perez and Fabriga might just have flawless dives. Sometimes, Pinoys can do the unexpected.

The long jump and the rest of the events in athletics won’t be held until Aug. 16, Saturday. I had expected Henry Dagmil to be tall because most long jumpers are tall athletes, but the 26-year-old stands only 5’1.

But Dagmil, who is shorter than I am but heavier, thank God, can jump as far as 7.75 meters from his takeoff. That means, he can jump over three Yao Mings lying down.

Taekwondo, in which we have two athletes, will be held on Aug. 20. This is the sport that Pinoys excel in, next to political bickering.

Who will get the P15 million President Arroyo promised? Let’s see.

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