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Filipino athletes like Hidilyn Diaz train under poorly funded programs and a system driven by politics and patronage. It’s the only system that works, for now. 

The Philippines’ first Olympic gold medal, in a sport that is not popular in the Philippines, did not happen by accident. It was a journey that began three decades ago in Barangay Mampang, Zamboanga City. Here, exceptional talent, visionary leadership, and an audacious grassroots program converged to give Hidilyn Diaz the boost she needed early in her career.