From SEA Games 2019 to Tokyo Olympics 2020
After reigning supreme in this month’s Southeast Asian Games, the Philippines wants to parlay its success there with a victory that has eluded it for nearly a century.
The country looks to win their first Olympic gold medal in the Tokyo Games next year, and the national contingent is capable of accomplishing that based on the performance of gymnast Carlos Yulo and pole-vaulter EJ Obiena.
So far, the Philippines, which joined the Olympic program in 1924, has 3 silver and 7 bronze medals, the last podium finish courtesy of weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz in 2016.
According to the Olympics Reference website, only two countries that exist until today have had a longer gold-medal drought — Haiti (1900) and Monaco (1920).
It’s rare to tout a Filipino athlete’s gold chances in the buildup to the Olympics, but thanks to world champion Yulo and top-class talent Obiena there’s excitement over breaking a drought spanning 22 Olympic Games.
Given the proper government support and the presence of elite coaching, which both Yulo and Obiena enjoy, that could become a reality.