IT was an unprecedented week in Philippine sports where our home-grown athletes conquered the global sporting stage practically one after the other.
San Ildefonso, Bulacan-bred Fil-Japanese teen golfer Yuka Saso started off the streak of Pinoy athletic triumphs last Sunday. She bounced back from two early double-bogeys and finally beat Japan’s Nasa Hataoka in the third hole of a sudden-death playoff to become the first Filipino to win the 76th US Women’s Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, California.
She matched South Korean Park In-bee as they became the youngest winners in US Women’s Open history at 19 years, 11 months and 17 days.
Late Friday night, June 11, the mighty Philippine Azkals made short work of its opponent Guam and blazed its way to a 3-0 victory at Sharjah Stadium in the United Arab Emirates.
Solid contributions came from Angel Guirado, Mark Winhoffer, and Mark Hartmann, who each rifled a shot to the goal to secure a spot in the third round of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers
On June 12, as the country celebrated its 123rd Independence Day, Filipino teen tennis sensation Alex Eala made Filipino tennis history when she captured the 2021 French Open girls’ doubles title with her partner Oksana Selekhmeteva from Russia amid a raucous crowd at Roland Garros in Paris, France.
Thus, Eala became the first Filipino tennis player who has two tennis Grand Slam titles under her belt. The first was the 2020 Australian Open girls double title, which she won with doubles partner Priska Madelyn Nugroho from Indonesia.
Cagayan de Oro-native Francis Casey Alcantara was the first Filipino to win a Grand Slam championship when he conquered the 2009 Australian Open boys’ doubles together with partner Hsieh Cheng-peng of Chinese-Taipei.
To cap the week, weightlifter Elreen Ando from Cebu became the 11th Filipino athlete to quality for the Tokyo Olympics after being awarded a slot in the continental allocation in the women’s -64kg event. She garnered 26,349,334 points in the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Absolute Ranking list for her event in Asia and thus qualifies for this year’s quadrennial meet.
She joins Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz as one of two weightlifters going to Tokyo.
Earlier Olympick qualifiers were Ernest John Obiena (pole vault), Carlos Yulo (Gymnastics), Eumir Marcial, Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam (boxing), Cris Nievarez (rowing), Kurt Barbosa (taekwondo), and Margielyn Didal (skateboard).