THE world’s best athletes are naturally taking the sports headlines with the Rio Olympics in full swing. But two Filipino divers have also taken their share of the spotlight all over the world, and they’re not even competing in Brazil.
The 2015 video showing the epic diving flops of Philippine bets Elmerson Fabriga and John David Pahoyo to the Singapore Southeast Asian Games that year resurfaced online on Monday, going viral as it caught the attention of many websites around the world.
News sites like UK’s The Telegraph to lifestyle media outlets like UK’s Complex, US Cosmopolitan picked up the video to the comic delight of their readers. Complex’s Facebook post of the video alone has already garnered more than 10 million views online in just four days that it was posted.
But behind the mix of mockery and good-natured ribbing, other sites like Upworthy have also shown support to both Fabriga and Pahoyo, calling the Pinoy divers ‘total class acts’ for how they handled the embarrassing situation.
They also brought to light how the divers redeemed themselves in the synchronized diving event two days after their botched individual dives in Singapore.
Well, here's as good a chance as any to look back at this story and give you the divers' side, as told to SPIN.ph more than a year ago.
Just a week after the videos first went viral last year, Fabriga himself told SPIN.ph that they took the all the ridicule from the incident in stride, saying nerves got the better of him. Still, it did not dampen his mood but instead motivated him even more to train harder for future competitions.
“Okay lang kasi natural lang ‘yun. Hindi ko dina-down sarili ko. Gagawin kong inspirasyon ‘yun para mag-train uli,” Fabriga said in an interview with SPIN.ph writer Reuben Terrado.
In another interview with SPIN.ph, Philippine Aquatic Sports Association head Mark P. Joseph shared revealing insights behind the failed performance of divers. Joseph said the divers should get more sympathy than scorn as they were first-timers who had to do with lack of support and facilities to train.
“They’re new, they’re young they’re fist-timers at this level, so don’t expect fireworks. Alam mo naman yung divers natin, we only have one training center,” Joseph said in an interview with SPIN.ph contributing writer Snow Badua.
“But with their performances, I am not surprised. The amount of money that is spent in our sport is nothing compared to our kalaban. It’s that simple,” he added. “We always like it to be better, but maybe it should teach a lesson to everybody that if you don’t invest … don’t expect. It takes years and years to make a champion. The reality is we are really left behind. Look at the Rizal Memorial (Sports Complex) compared to what you see here (in Singapore).”
The world may get a good laugh with the video for now but with promised changes for the benefit of national athletes, including the maligned divers, hope remains that the Philippines could make a splash in diving again in the near future.