MANILA – From a group of athletes struggling to take that elusive Olympic gold, the Philippines is just a formality away from walking away as the best in Southeast Asia.
The Philippine team to this year's Tokyo Olympics is set to end its campaign as the top-performing country among Southeast Asian nations in terms of which medals they won.
Indonesia actually had more medals won than the Philippines as of 4:30 p.m. Saturday, but with Carlo Paalam already formalizing his Top 2 finish in the men's flyweight boxing event earlier in the day, the Philippines will go up the medal tally.
The 28-person Indonesian squad, which wrapped up its campaign earlier this week, got one gold from the women's badminton doubles tandem of Greysia Polli and Apriyani Rahayu, one silver from male weightlifter Eko Irawan, and three bronzes from men's badminton star Anthony Ginting and weightlifters Erwin Abdullah and Windy Aisah.
However, Paalam gave the Philippines its second silver medal for the year, enough to overtake Indonesia in the medal tally despite only getting four medals -- including one gold--in total.
Hidilyn Diaz won it all in a women's weightlifting event, while the boxing team amassed the bulk of the medals, two silvers from Paalam and Nesthy Petecio and a bronze from Eumir Marcial.
The Philippines is currently ninth in the medal tally among Asian countries and tied for 47th place overall with Slovakia.
China is currently leading in the medal tally with 38 golds, 29 silvers, and 17 bronzes, while the United States is not far behind with 34 golds, 36 silvers, and 32 bronzes.
However, as the penultimate day of the competition continues, a shakeup in the race for the overall championship might still take place.
The world's most prestigious sporting event in the Japanese capital will formally close on Sunday, with the Olympic torch to be passed to Paris as its next host in 2024. (PNA)