After decades, Recah Trinidad still believes Onyok Velasco was robbed of Olympic gold

MANILA, Philippines – Veteran sports columnist Recah Trinidad still believes that Mansueto 'Onyok' Velasco was robbed of the gold medal during his fight against Bulgaria's Daniel Petrov Bojilov for the light-flyweight gold medal in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Trinidad was with journalist Ron delos Reyes who was present during the fight and personally witnessed how the Filipino boxer was so close to winning the Philippines' first Olympic gold medal. Trinidad recalled how he was ecstatic about that day.

"Naghanda ako, nagbihis ako ng husto, yung paborito kong polo na puti [ang sinuot ko], dahil [alam namin] na ito na ang golden moment," says Trinidad.

During the fight, Trinidad recalled feeling dismayed, eventually enraged, after noticing that despite Velasco's performance on the ring, the Bulgarian was slowly building up a margin. He felt distraught to realize that the scores don't add up to what they were witnessing before their very eyes.

Recah Trinidad still believes Onyok Velasco was robbed of Olympic gold

"What I shame," Trinidad remembers thinking.

When the results showed that the Bulgarian boxer won, Delos Reyes couldn't help but let out an anguished cry. He admitted that that loss still hurts many sports fans even up to this day.

"We were robbed of the gold. We were robbed," Delos Reyes cried.

Trinidad was emotional and fought back his tears after the loss. He also shared how Velasco cried after the match. As a sports panelist, he was at a loss for words on how to explain Velasco's loss.

"Naiyak si Onyok, ako pinigil ko luha ko. Mahirap ipaliwanag sa tao kung papaano tayo natalo dahil ang linaw-linaw sa laban na panalo si Onyok," Trinidad remembered.

After 24 years, Recah sat down with his son Chino to watch Velasco's fight again. Up until now, he stands by his statement that Velasco's defeat was one of the most painful in Philippine sports history.

Recently, Velasco has been talked of the town again after he revealed that he failed to receive many of the pledges and incentives given to him after his Olympic fight. After 25 years, President Rodrigo Duterte conferred Velasco with the Order of Lapu-Lapu and P500,000 cash incentives. Private companies have also reached to give Velasco his long overdue honor. Velasco has received a chicken roast store and P100,000 from Chooks-to-Go company.

You can watch their video of Recah re-watching the Velasco fight here:

— Sally, The Summit Express

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