Eumir Marcial could not help but break out into a big smile when asked about the historic achievement of Filipina weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz at the Tokyo Olympics.
The Filipino boxer was coming off a dominant performance in his debut in the men's middleweight division, where he won via RSC (referee stopped contest) over Algeria's Younes Nemouchi. Marcial knocked down his foe a minute into the fight, and won when the ringside doctor wouldn't let Nemouchi continue as he was bleeding from a cut above his right eye.
The win propelled Marcial into the quarterfinals, and he is now just one win away from securing at least a bronze medal. But the heavy-handed boxer has always dreamt of winning Olympic gold, and he hopes that he can match the feat of his "Ate Hidi."
"Sobrang ang laking bagay na nanalo si Ate Hidi," Marcial told Paolo del Rosario of Cignal TV shortly after his bout. "Unang-una, kababayan ko po siya, taga-Zamboanga. At kasamahan ko po siya sa Philippine Air Force."
"Sobrang na-inspire po ako sa kanya," he said.
Marcial will take on Armenia's Arman Darchinyan on Sunday, with an eye towards progressing to the medal rounds.
Diaz, for her part, is grateful that she can inspire her fellow Team Philippine members -- especially those who are making their Olympic debut, like Marcial.
"Sa lahat ng mga kasama ko diyan, alam niyo naman si Ate, supportive si Ate. Alam kong kaya niyo 'yan. Nagawa ni Ate eh, ni Ate niyo, ni Ate Hidi na manalo ng gold medal, so less pressure na 'yan sa inyo," Diaz said on Thursday, during an online news forum hosted by the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines.
"And alam namin, kahit wala ako diyan, alam kong kayang-kaya niyo. Andito ako, nanonood, suportado ko pa rin kayo, sinu-support ko pa rin kayo," she added.
After Diaz had won her gold, Filipina boxer Nesthy Petecio advanced to the semifinals of the women's featherweight division, ensuring that the Philippines will win multiple medals in an Olympic Games for the first time since 1932.
For breaking news and latest developments on the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, visit https://news.abs-cbn.com/tokyo-olympics