PHI Towards Olympic Perfection 

Coming back from their recent stint at the 14th Senior and 19th Junior Artistic Gymnastics Asian Championships held in Singapore, Team Philippines’ gymnastics team goes back to training in preparation for their respective competitions and championships. Athletes took turns exhibiting routines during their training exercises inside the MVP Sports Foundation Gymnastics Center in Intramuros, Manila.


Olympic gymnast Carlos Yulo was one of the few seen on the mat. Yulo is currently training for his upcoming campaign in the 2023 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships after clearing the Asian Championships last June in Singapore. Many are curious if he would be competing in the nearing 19th Asian Games.


“World Championships is more important. We fought for that. We worked for it so we have to go,” said Gymnastics Association of the Philippines (GAP) President Cynthia Carrion.


“The Asian Games is not an Olympic qualifier,” she added.


When asked what his goal or target is, Yulo answered, “Makapag-Olympics at manalo ng Olympic gold, syempre! Ang pinaka-goal ko is madeliver nang maayos yung performance ko sa Paris. Hopefully, makapagperform ng nasa good state.”


Team Philippines has no worries for the upcoming 19th Asian Games since we have capable gymnasts who are up to the task of bringing home sports recognition.


Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold medalist John Ivan Cruz is one of the confirmed representatives in the Asian Games, together with Juancho Miguel Besana who qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympic berth in the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG) Artistic Gymnastics in Antwerp, Belgium in September.


John Ivan Cruz is both ecstatic and nervous with the high expectations of the Filipino community especially sports fans. “Marami pa po akong kayang maipakita sa mga tao.”


Besana, on the other hand, is thrilled about him qualifying in the Worlds but he doesn’t let it get the best of him. “Back to basics and progressing sa skills ulit. Wala naman po akong masyadong iniisip about sa competitions na previous, mas iniisip ko po competitions na paparating.”


Younger sibling Karl Eldrew Yulo makes a noise for himself after snatching the silver in vault in the 2023 Asian Junior Artistic Gymnastics Championships. “I feel so proud kasi nagawa ko yun kahit di ako ganun kagaling, and masyado pa po akong kabado sa mga competitions.”


GAP can proudly say these are all possible since they have world-class training curriculums and coaches in their midst. The men’s national team is currently under the meticulous hands of the SEA Games medalist coach Reyland Capellan who devotes his time and energy into developing the artistic and calculated movements of our national athletes.


A prime candidate for the coaching position is active gymnast and SEA Games medalist Justine Ace de Leon, the current team captain of the national team.


Many younger gymnasts seek de Leon’s guidance, encouraging a semblance of an older brother in the team. As team captain, de Leon encourages his fellow gymnasts and uplifts them when they feel down or unmotivated.


The proud team captain said, ”Maraming salamat po sa mga sumuporta samin. Malaking tulong ang supporta nila kasi kung wala sila, di kami mas gagaling. Di lang kami to, or di lang sila, lahat kami, mas marereach pa namin.”


Left to right, gymnasts of different ages did their routines hoping to perfect each time. Monitoring and guiding them throughout the whole time are their dedicated coaches, all of whom are one with the gymnasts’ aspirations – these aspirations later on materializing into medals and trophies for the national team as they conquer one competition and another.


These achievements do not go past the Philippine Sports Commission. Like all national sports associations recognized by the agency, the gymnastics national team is supported and well-compensated for the selfless contributions they give the country. This is something GAP has been gracious with spreading around the sports community.


“We have medals, and we can prove ourselves. I believe the PSC sees this as well with how they are supporting us 100% and I really want to thank Chairman Richard Bachmann for it,” shared GAP President Cynthia Carrion.


Led by the visionary chief of the gymnastics national team with the support of the Philippine Sports Commission, it is with no doubt that we are now on the great journey of history-altering athletic prowess.




To most people around the world, Pele was the icon who transcended football. He turned the game into an art form, an entertainment and there is no comparison to what he has done.

Yes, the debate still goes on up to now after Messi won his first World Cup only a few days ago. But Pele won the Cup three times for Brazil and he is the only one who did it three times.


There is one thing in common with Pele and Messi. Both carry the virtue of humility. We see world champions who simply fade away in time with too much pride all over their heads, especially here in our beloved country.

It's different with Pele because he has always been revered all over the world even by his rivals on the turf. He changed the color of Brazil after the freedom for the black people was given just 50 years before he was born. Another story from rags to riches, fame and respect. The world's greatest footballers are now sending messages to the world that there will never be anyone like him and how lucky we are to be alive to have seen his brand of play.

Players like Zidane, Lineker, Ronaldo, Neymar and Messi will never forget the value Pele has left behind for this world's greatest sport.

I love Messi, too, but I love Pele more.


I love Pele for the simple reason that all the successes of the new generation of superstars started with "The Man." His legacy will forever live on not only in Brazil but all over the world.

Now I have to find that picture I was blessed to have with him years ago when I was director of FIFA plus the shirt he signed.

Blessed be the name of the Lord. Happy, healthy new year, guys.

Congratulations and appreciation


Congratulations to the newly appointed officials of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).

Former PSC chairman Butch Ramirez is quite a hard act to follow. But with all due respect to the newbies, we, in the Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas, would like to thank former chairman Noli Eala, in spite of his short stint, and current PSC commissioner Bong Coo and executive director Guillermo Iroy, without whose support, we would not have garnered three gold medals, courtesy of our Olympic golden girl Hidilyn Diaz, in the recent IWF World Championships in Bogota, Columbia, two weeks ago.

Out of more than 10 Olympic qualifying events for Paris 2024, we have to join four more out of the five compulsory qualifying events and hope we get the same support, if not better, from new PSC chairman Dickie Bachmann and his commissioners.


Don't worry. As always, we will do our best to deliver for the country. Watch out for weightlifters Vanessa Sarno, Elreen Ando, Kristel Macrohon, aside from Hidilyn. This could be their breakout year.



Date: January 3, 2023 | By:  | Newspaper: The Manila Times | Source:




Binigyang-pugay ni Pangulong Bongbong Marcos ang Olympic gold medalist na si Hidilyn Diaz sa pagkapanalo nito sa 2022 World Weightlifting Championships sa Bogota, Colombia noong Disyembre 7.

“Muli na namang nagpamalas ng natatanging galing ang kauna-unahan nating Olympic gold medalist na si Hidilyn Diaz sa kanyang pagkapanalo ng mga gintong medalya sa 2022 World Weightlifting Championships,” saad ni PBBM sa kaniyang Facebook page.

“Kaisa ko ang buong bansa sa pagbibigay pugay sa iyo, Hidilyn, sa patuloy mong pagsusumikap upang magsilbing inspirasyon sa maraming Pilipino, at makapag-uwi ng karangalan para sa ating bayan!” dagdag pa niya.

Samantala, hindi pa rin makapaniwala si Hidilyn na natupad na niya ang pinapangarap niyang maging “world champion.”

“Kay gandang pakinggan, eto ay aking lamang pinapangarap. Natupad din sa wakas!” ani Diaz sa isang Instagram post.

Si Diaz, na ngayon ay world champion na, ay nagreyna sa women’s 55 kg event sa IWF World Weightlifting Championships.

Nagpasalamat din si Diaz sa lahat ng naging bahagi ng kanyang paglalakbay patungo sa world championship.

Sinabi rin ng Olympic gold medalist na ito na ang kanyang huling stint sa 55 kg class.

“This is my last lift at 55kgs Category and I’m happy to end it as @iwfnet World Champion.”

Sinabi rin ni Diaz na inaabangan niya ang hinaharap habang naghahanda siyang maging kwalipikado para sa 2024 Paris Olympics.

Nakatakdang magretiro si Diaz pagkatapos ng Paris Olympics kaya naman puspusan ang paghahanda nito para makasungkit muli ng gintong medalya.



Date: December 10, 2022 | By: Nicole Therise Marcelo| Newspaper: Balita | Source:



MANILA, Philippines — Vanessa Sarno topped the Tashkent Asian Championships at age 17 and the Hanoi Southeast Asian Games at 18.

Now a year older, the Tagbilaran, Bohol lass will try to prove that she’s a worthy successor to Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo as queen of Philippine weightlifting when she plunges into action in the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championships in Bogota, Colombia tonight.

The sky is the limit for Sarno, being tipped as the heiress to the Filipina Tokyo Olympics gold winner after her exploits in international meets that includes a fifth-place finish in the World Championships last year.

Sarno will vie in the women’s 71kg division alongside countrywoman Kristel Macrohon, a SEA Games gold medalist herself.

Sarno will give it her all and try to add to the three glittering gold medals snared by Diaz-Naranjo in the 55kg class last week.



Date: December 13, 2022 | By:  Joey Villar | Newspaper: Philippine Star | Source:



Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo, the Philippine’s first Olympic gold medalist, added another accolade to her name by winning another first for the country at the 2022 International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Weightlifting Championships in Bogota, Colombia, winning 3 golds in the women’s 55kg division on Wednesday, December 7 (Thursday, December 8, Manila time).

Philippine Sports Commission Chairman Jose Emmanuel “Noli” M. Eala congratulated Diaz in an official statement. The PSC and Eala said, “Hidilyn has proven once again that the fire in her heart to be second to none in her field continues to burn and remains the benchmark by which every weightlifter and Filipino athlete must measure themselves against.”

“The PSC will forever be proud of Hidilyn as the epitome of a great champion and will always provide support in her continuing quest to bring honor to our country. Mabuhay!” Eala added.

During the competition Diaz, cleared 93 kg in snatch, 114 kg in clean and jerk, for a total lift of 207 kg., outlifting Colombia’s Rosalba Morales and Mexico’s Ana Gabriela Lopez.

The win adds the elusive world title to Diaz’s trophy case which includes gold medals from the Olympics, Asian Games, and Southeast Asian Games.

Aside from Diaz-Naranjo, other Filipino weightlifters are expected to vie for medals in the world tilt and slots to the 2024 Paris Olympics, including Tokyo Olympian Elreen Ando, Asian champion Vanessa Sarno, Kristel Macrohon, and Dave Lloyd Pacaldo.

PSC took care of all possible support to Diaz and her team on their participation in this event.


Date: December 8, 2022 | By: PTV Sports| Newspaper: PTV | Source: