The Tokyo Olympics may have resulted in an unmatched medal haul for the Philippines, but beyond that, it also yielded a bumper crop of inspirational stories and touching moments—perhaps none more than that of boxer Carlo Paalam, whose rags-to-riches journey culminated in Olympic silver.
Paalam, whose impoverished childhood saw him working as a scavenger at a landfill in Cagayan de Oro City, saw his life change when he was taken into the local government’s sports program at age 11, which allowed him to go to school while training.
Last week, Paalam returned to the boxing gym in the small town of Aluba, Barangay Macasandig, where he trained before joining the national team. This was his first visit to the gym since he returned from Tokyo.
In a short speech, Paalam said he hoped his story would inspire the young boxers at the gym, and told them that nothing can stand in the way of their dreams and aspirations as long as they had diligence, self-discipline, and the willingness to work hard.