'PH Olympians learned key lessons in London'

Posted at 08/12/2012 1:26 AM | Updated as of 08/12/2012 1:26 AM

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines chief of mission for the London Olympics said the country’s 11-man team gained valuable lessons from its poor performance.

Delegation chief Manny Lopez said Philippine Olympians may have failed to bag an Olympic medal, but the experience they gained from the games will be very useful in future tournaments.

“There are lessons learned which I know will serve them well when they compete again for the country in other international tournaments like the coming Southeast Asian Games and Asian Games,'' he said in a statement.

The biggest achiever among the Pinoy Olympians was Mark Anthony Barriga, who was able to outscore Italy ’s Manuel Cappai in the round of 32 of the amateur boxing light flyweight division.

His first round victory, however, was followed by a controversial loss to Kazakhstan ’s Birshan Zhakypov in the next round of the competition.

''Mark won that one. He faded in the third round alright, but what really spelled the difference was the warning given to him,” said Lopez.

He said Barriga actually lost to the referee, not to his opponent.

“As I have said in the past, the referee must not issue a warning in the crucial stage of a close bout,'' said Lopez, a former president of the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (ABAP).

Cyclist Danny Caluag reached the quarterfinal round of the BMX competition, but finished last in his group during the race for the semifinal round.

Other Filipino athletes like swimmers Jasmine Alkhaldi and Jessie Lacuna, archers Mark Javier and Rachelle Cabral, shooter Brian Rosario, long jump athlete Marestella Torres and 5,000-meter bet Rene Herrera, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz and judoka Tomohiko Hoshina did not get anywhere near the medal fight, considering the strength and depth of the opposition.

Lopez said the most important thing they did in London is that they tried their best.

"It's heart-breaking to see our athletes lose, but it's heart-warming to see them competing proudly as a Filipino and giving their best in the Olympics,'' said Lopez.