ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 5 Aug) – Flooded with congratulatory greetings as the only city in the Philippines to have produced two Olympic Medals in one Olympic Games – a gold from Hidilyn Diaz of Mampang and a bronze from Eumir Felix Marcial of Lunzuran – Zamboanga City remains on high.
“[Hidilyn and Eumir] representing our city and our country in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics gave us so much pride and hope,” said City Tourism Officer Sarita Hernandez.
Following Eumir’s game where he settled for bronze, Hernandez said, “I’m proud of him. For me he is the real champion [despite the bronze medal]. He did a good job. We owe him big time.”
“We congratulate Eumir for bringing honor to our country and the city and adding another Olympic medal for the Philippines,” Vice Mayor Rommel Agan said.
“Congratulations to Eumir Felix Marcial for bringing pride and honor to Zamboanga and the Philippines! Thank you for all the sacrifices you have made and the dedication in mastering your craft at the boxing ring. Together with Hidilyn, you have shown to the world resiliency, bravery and determination of the Zamboangueños to win life! Vaya con Dios! (God be with you!),” Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco said.
“Con Dios nuestro fuerza y alabanza por el esfuerzos de Eumir! Su ganada y de Hidilyn es un inspiracion para todo especialmente maga jovenes (In God is our strength for the efforts of Eumir! His victory and that of Hidilyn’s is an inspiration for all, especially the youth),” added the mayor.
The boxer’s mother, Carmelita, said that while the judges have their decisions, “for me and my family, Eumir is still the winner, the champion. Just as Eumir told us, he will still fight on.”
Marcial was seven years old when he first got interested in boxing with his father, Eulalio Jorolan Marcial, as first trainer, who let him join the “Beer na Beer Tournament” at Plaza Pershing in downtown Zamboanga. Having won as champion, Eumir’s childhood dream was to win a gold in the Olympics, his mother Carmelita recalled.
“I was apprehensive at first. But when I realized that the children would be wearing head gear even when they were amateurs, and there were medical personnel standing by, I felt a bit relieved with that,” she said.
Eumir, or Dong to his family, juggled time with his informal boxing training and education at Putik Central School and, later, at the Maria Clara Lobregat National High School in Divisoria for his first two years in secondary education.
When he reached 15, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) arranged his transfer to Pasay City West High School for his final two years in high school as his training became more intense.
Eumir, 25, is the youngest child of Eulalio, 71; and Carmelita, 62. The other children were Eliver (deceased); Elgiber, 37; Eunice de los Reyes, 36; and Eucar, 27.
At 15, he had his first international game where he won a gold medal at the International Boxing Association (AIBA) Junior World Boxing Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan.
Following the footsteps of his idol, Manny Pacquiao, Eumir has chosen to join the Philippine Army which he likewise represents at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The Marcial couple emphasized Eumir’s being family-oriented. While Eumir has left Zamboanga to be with PSC for trainings since 15, most of his earnings have always been sent back to the family.
His mother had opened Eumir Store, a retail store at the crossing of Lunzuran and the Main Highway in the city, as a fruit of her son’s labor and his first investment.
As the breadwinner of the family, he bought a lot and gradually caused the building of the family home in Lunzuran.
Eunice, his only sister, shared that he financed her hospitalization when she gave birth to her youngest in Cavite City.
“Yo ya queda junto con Eumir, mi marido y maga hija y solo hijo na su casa na Cavite. Ta vicia kami el casa cada sale afuera na pais si Eumir especialmente para na su juego afuera como ta representa ele na pais. Bien willing se ele ayuda canamon todo especialmente si para con Mamang y con Papang (I lived together with Eumir, my husband and my daughters and only son in his house in Cavite. We take care of the house every time Eumir goes out of the country, especially for his game outside as a representative of the country),” she said.
Eunice de los Reyes and her daughters had already gone home to Zamboanga, joining Eumir in the trip when he came home last May. Eunice’s husband and son have remained in Eumir’s house in Cavite.
Carmelita, in her message to her son, said: “Whatever happens, we are always here, and we love you.” (Frencie Carreon / MindaNews)