13 Filipino Olympians to Watch in Rio 2016

Philippines in the parade of nations at 2016 Rio Olympics

Contributed by Tina Relampagos


In 1996, Mansueto Velasco bagged the Silver medal for light-flyweight Boxing division at Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Locally, we know him as Onyok. Since then, our athletes haven’t had the success and luck in bringing home another medal from the past four Summer Olympics. That’s right, read up about it! But yesterday, Hidilyn Diaz weightlifted her way to a Silver medal for the Philippines yesterday after 20 dry years. It took her three tries but with focus and determination, she did not weaken each lift. Hidilyn is one of 13 Philippine delegates in 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Brazil. Sadly, two have bowed out but it isn’t too late to get to know them as a way to celebrate their dedication to their craft and for boldly representing our country. Here the Philippines’ 2016 Rio Olympics delegates:


Hidilyn Diaz

Sport: Weightlifting

Age: 25 years old

Achievements: 2015 Southeast Asian Championships, Gold; 2015 Asian Championships, Gold; 2015 World Championships, Bronze

Trivia: This is her third Olympics! Philippines’ flag bearer in 2012 Summer Olympics in London

Hidilyn Diaz wins a Silver medal at 2016 Rio Olympics for weightlifting


Nestor Colonia

Sport: Weightlifting

Age: 24 years old

Achievements: 2015 Asian Weightlifting Championships, Gold (2) and Silver (1); 2016 Asian Weightlifting Championships, Bronze

Quick story: Qualifying for Rio is an achievement beyond dreams. Nestor came from a family of 6 children raised by a stay-at-home Mom and Dad who works as a carpenter. From humble beginnings, his was a story of determination, hard work and ambition. He has failed a few times in his career but his athletic achievements has given him more lifestyle options compared to what he had when he started. Despite the medals, he is not afraid to admit his short comings and athletic heartbreak. Just yesterday, Nestor bowed out early in this Summer Olympics after totalling just 120 kg. But we are, nevertheless, still ecstatic to have seen him in the world stage again.

Nestor Colonia on losing in 2016 Rio Olympics


Read: All that weightlifting is tough, give a much deserved weekend at Azumi Boutique Hotel to the back breaking hard worker. 


Kirstie Elaine Alora

Sport: Taekwondo

Age: 26 years old

Achievements: 2016 Asian Qualifying Tournament, Silver; Asian Games, Bronze (2); Southeast Asian Games, Gold (3)

Kirstie Elaine Alora in 2016 Rio Olympics for Taekwondo


Kodo Nakano

Sport: Judo

Age: 23 years old

Achievements: 2013 Southeast Asian Judo Championships, Bronze; 2013 World Championships, country representative; 2015 Southeast Asian Games, ranked 5th

Quick story: Kodo Nakano was just outside his sport’s quota for Asia so his entry as one of our country’s delegates came as a much welcome surprise when the Iranian representative withdrew from the competition. His invitation officially came in just three days before the Olympic games officially opened. He travelled to Rio to join the rest of the team over the weekend. Let’s hope he isn’t too jetlagged for his match against Matteo Marconcini of Italy on August 9, Tuesday.

Kodo Nakano is the 13th Filipino Olympian


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Jessie Khing Lacuna

Sport: Swimming

Age: 22 years old

Achievements: Recipient of universality invitation by world swimming body FINA; UAAP, Gold (7); 2015 Southeast Asian Games, Silver (1) and Bronze (2)

2016 Rio Olympics: Ranked 6th at Heat 2 of Men’s 400m Freestyle

Jessie Lacuna bows out of 2016 Rio Olympics


Jasmine Alkhaldi

Sport: Swimming

Age: 23 years old

Achievements: Recipient of universality invitation by world swimming body FINA; Southeast Asian Games, Bronze (8)

Jasmine Alkhaldi on 2016 Rio Olympics


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Miguel Tabuena

Sport: Golf

Age: 21 years old

Achievements: 2010 Asian Games, Silver; Asian Tour Order of Merit, ranked 4th; Philippine Open, Asian Tour title

Quick story: After 112 years, golf is back in the Olympics and we’re fortunate and blessed to be represented by Miguel Tabuena who started his passion for gold at an early age. Ranked 37th out of 60 players, he is optimistic that we have a definite chance at placing in this tournament. His confidence shouldn’t come as a surprise as he is the second Filipino to play in the US Open.

Miguel Tabuena on 2016 Rio Olympics for Golf


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Rogen Ladon

Sport: Boxing

Age: 22 years old

Achievements: 2015 Southeast Asian Games, Silver; 2015 Asian Championship, Silver; 2015 AIBA World Boxing Championships, Bronze; 2016 Asia & Oceania Boxing Olympic Qualification Tournament, Silver

Rogen Ladon on 2016 Rio Olympics for Boxing


Charly Suarez

Sport: Boxing

Age: 27 years old

Achievements: 2016 Asia & Oceania Boxing Olympic Qualification Tournament, Silver; 2014 Asian Games, Silver; 2011 Southeast Asian Games, Gold; 2009 Southeast Asian Games, Gold

2016 Rio Olympics: Lost to Joseph Cordona of Great Britain at 1-2

Charly Suarez for 2016 Rio Olympics for Boxing


Read: The best in boxing have brains and brawn. Start them early for the brain part at SMILE


Ian Lariba

Sport: Table Tennis

Age: 21 years old

Achievements: UAAP champion (3); MVP (3)

Trivia: Philippines’ flag bearer in 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio

2016 Rio Olympics: Lost to Xing Han of Congo at 4-0               

Quick story: For the first time in Philippine history we have our first table tennis Olympian – Ian Lariba. Her talent attracted some of the top universities in the country and on scholarship, completed 5-year collegiate career undefeated in singles matches and named MVP thrice. Unfortunately, her first Olympic experience was not picture perfect. Her first match was tougher than she expected and at 4-0, Congo’s delegate outplayed her.

Ian Lariba on 2016 Rio Olympics for Table Tennis


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Mary Joy Tabal

Sport: Track and Field

Age: 26 years old

Achievements: 2015 Southeast Asian Games, Silver; National Milo Marathon Finals winner for 3 years

Mary Joy Tabal on 2016 Rio Olympics


Eric Shauwn Cray

Sport: Track and Field

Age: 27 years old

Achievements: Southeast Asian Games, Gold (2); SEA Games record holder at 49.40 seconds for 400m hurdles; 2016 Asian Indoor Championships, Bronze

Eric Cray on 2016 Rio Olympics


Marestella Torres-Sunang

Sport: Track and Field

Age: 35 years old

Achievements: Southeast Asian Games, Gold (4); 2009 Asian Championships, Gold

Quick story: In 2011, she set the record for 6.71 meters in the Southeast Asian Games. In July this year, she set a new national record of 6.72 in Kazakhstan Open to qualify for Rio. To stay within rank for the finals, she has to jump the same length as her record breaking feats. She is a mother of two kids and a record holder in long jump; to her, those two things do not contradict each other. With a supportive family, a whole heart and a country rooting for her, Marestella is focused on her target.

Marestella Torres on 2016 Rio Olympics


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This year we have 13 Filipino Olympians. In 4 years, we hope that we’ll be cheering for more! Who knows, by taking care of your health and fitness, you may even be on your way to be one of them. But for now, celebrate with great food and drinks while watching our delegates make history in Rio. For the latest update, stats and medal count of the all tournaments in Rio Olympics, check out www.rio2016.com.


Information Sources:

Panalingan, Marisse. GMA Network. “Team Philippines to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.” 04-Aug 2016. (URL: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/576405/sports/othersports/team-philippines-to-the-2016-olympics-in-rio-de-janeiro)

De Luna, Jaz. Philippine News. “List of the Philippine Olympic Team Athletes for the 2016 Rio Olympics.” 05-Aug 2016. (URL: http://philnews.ph/2016/08/05/list-of-the-philippine-olympic-team-athletes-2016-rio-olympics/)