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Paalam gets silver to wrap up Philippines’ Olympic campaign

08 August 2021

By The SUN 

Philippines' pride: Paalam and Pretecio show off their silver medals, and Marcial, his bronze

Boxer Carlo Paalam got his ever prize in his career when he collected the silver medal in the men’s flyweight final in the Tokyo Olympics.


The 23-year-old came close to winning gold, losing by a split decision to Britain’s Galal Yafai despite getting knocked down in the first round of their bout.

His silver gave the Philippines’ its biggest ever medal haul in the 97-year Olympic games.

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Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz won the country’s first ever gold medal, while boxers Paalam and Nesthy Pretecio in the final of the women’s featherweight division each took silver. Eumir Marcial is going home with the bronze in boxing’s middleweight category.

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Despite his heartbreaking loss in the games, Paalam left the ring on high note, hugging Yafai after the verdict was announced, and giving an emotional speech about how far he’d come in life.

Paalam is all smiles as he receives his silver medal at the podium

“This medal, this is the symbol for my life,” said Paalam, his voice cracking. “I was once a scavenger, and this medal is made from discarded gadgets. It was from trash, so I was able to connect it with my life. That’s where the inspiration to get this came from.”


Paalam kept up his determined campaign to win the gold despite being knocked down in the first round. He connected several solid blows on Yafai in the next two rounds, enough to split the vote 4-1 in the Briton’s favor.


Many see his Olympic silver as a sign of bigger things to come for the young Paalam, who was born in Bukidnon before moving to Cagayan de Oro where he helped his father make a living by scavenging.

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To get to the final round, he knocked out Olympic and world champion Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan in the quarterfinal, then booted out by a unanimous decision Japan’s bet Ryomei Tanaka in the semifinal.

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