Tokyo-bound PAF athletes dedicate fight to C-130 crash victims

Tokyo-bound PAF athletes dedicate fight to C-130 crash victims

MANILA – Soldier-athletes Eumir Felix Marcial and Hidilyn Diaz said they will offer their best performance in the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics in honor of their colleagues who were killed and injured in the July 4 C-130 cargo aircraft crash in Patikul, Sulu.

“We offer our best performance in our respective events to our countrymen and our fellow soldiers, especially those who suffered in the tragic C-130 plane crash,” Marcial said in a statement Wednesday.

The two athletes, who are both Philippine Air Force (PAF) enlisted personnel, paid a virtual courtesy call to Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Cirilito Sobejana on Tuesday night.

Marcial is currently training in the United States while Diaz is training in Malaysia.

The two are bound for Japan to represent the Philippines in the international multisport event to be held from July 23 to Aug. 8.

“With the kind of dedication and commitment that A1C (Airman First Class) Marcial and Sergeant Diaz have, the AFP is sure that they will bring honor to the country,” Sobejana said.

In the virtual meeting, the AFP chief praised the military athletes’ dedication, commitment, and sacrifices in preparation for the international event.

He noted that 90 percent of the time and effort are heavily devoted to training and the remaining 10 percent is for the competition itself.

Diaz is the first female athlete to win an Olympic medal for the Philippines in weightlifting. She made history after winning the silver medal in the women’s 53-kg weightlifting division of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics in Brazil, ending the country’s 20-year Olympic medal drought.

The three-time Olympian, who also competed in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, is also a gold medalist in the 2018 Asian Games and 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

Meanwhile, Marcial is a pro-boxer who represented the Philippines at the 2015, 2017, and 2019 Southeast Asian Games and at the 2011 Aiba Youth World Boxing Championships and won gold medals.

The 26-year-old athlete has won 13 gold, two silver, and four bronze medals since he started his boxing career in 2011.

“The AFP will continue to support our military athletes all the way, especially under the renewed partnership with the Philippine Sports Commission to further elevate their skills and capabilities. We are one with them and all the Filipino delegates in the strong desire to raise the country’s flag in the global sports scene,” Sobejana said. (PNA)

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