The Wonder Women Of 2018: The Pinay Athletes At The Asian Games
It’s 2018 and there’s no Gal Gadot in sight, so let’s just forget her... at least, for now, and focus on the wonderful set of female athletes who have struck Gold for the Philippines during the ongoing Asian Games, being held in Indonesia. There’s weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, golfers Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan and Kaye Lois Go, and just yesterday, skateboarder Margielyn Didal.
While Hidilyn is something of a known quantity given her Olympics Silver finish, you have to tip your hat to the unheralded golfers. Saso is just 17 years old and snatched victory from China’s Liu Wenbo by carding an eagle on the 18th hole to finish 13-under after 72 holes. You can’t finish much more dramatic than that. Pagdanganan copped the individual Bronze, so that was some proud Filipino podium moment with two of our girls standing. And along with Go’s score, the three then took home the team Gold.
As for Margielyn Didal, 19, who hails from Cebu, she carries sass and attitude with unabashed style. She tallied 30.4 points to beat out Isa Kaya of Japan (25 points) and Bunga Nyimas of Indonesia (19.8 points). This is a sport making its debut in the Asiad, and it’s evident that Didal, who has competed in the X Games in Minneapolis and London’s Street League Skateboarding PRO Tour, was more than ready to make her mark.
This kind of begs the issue that’s staring us in the face. Flying under the radar, without much fanfare before they compete, these Filipinas just train like hell, show up, and compete ferociously, bringing home the proverbial bacon. Maybe it’s time we send an All Female contingent to future global sporting competitions.
It would certainly save us a lot of trash talk, the litany of excuses, and the morning-after apologies that emanate from the camps of our male athletes. We offer them copious amounts of column space and coverage, and whether it’s basketball, boxing, or what have you, they falter and predictably, out come a ton of reasons why it’s not their fault. It’s the referees conspiring against us, we underestimated the competition or didn’t scout them enough, and perhaps one day, they’ll offer up that it’s just that time of the month.
Boring as hell, and that’s why I so enjoyed how these true-Blue Amazons just quietly went about their business, and at times, even "surprised" their Heads of Mission. What was that, some misplaced and undeserved attention on the male athletes while downplaying the chances of our women? As it is, it’s probably much better that way, how these heads of the various Sports Commissions lavish their attention on the Men’s contingent, and leave the Women to train without that much interference or second opinions. It certainly has been their formula for success so far.
To Hidilyn, Yuka, Bianca, Kaye, and Margielyn—you have been the saving grace of this Asian Games. We are so proud of you and wish you the very best for your futures as athletes and sportswomen. We only hope you’ll be duly rewarded by this country, and we appreciate the hard work, dedication, and persistence you have put into your athletic careers.
Photos from @hidilyndiaz @loiskayeee @margielyndidal @azathletics