by Nick Giongco
Mariano “Tom” Ong, who represented the Philippines in the 1972 and 1976 Olympics shooting competition, passed away early yesterday morning. He was 78.
Cause of death was heart failure, according to his son Nathaniel “Tac” Padilla, also a bemedaled shooter.
Ong first suited up in the 1972 Munich Games, one of eight Filipino bets entered in the sport and competed in the 50m pistol. Ong was again named to the Philippine delegation to the 1976 edition in Montreal
Philippine Sports Commission chairman William “Butch” Ramirez said that national athletes should draw inspiration from the heroes of yesteryears such as Tom Ong as they all represented the country with pride and honor.
“These are the athletes who gave the country their all,” said Ramirez, noting that the likes of Ong embodied the true character of what an athlete should be.
“They didn’t play for money and carrying the Philippine flag was enough for them to drop everything and suit up for flag and country.”
“I just wish that today’s athletes see the value in what the past athletes did for the country.”
Philippine Olympic Committee First Vice President Joey Romasanta described Ong as a simple guy.
“You can’t say anything bad about him,” said Romasanta.
“If you like his son Tac, you’ll love Tom even better,” added Romasanta.
Ong, however, was perhaps better known as the father of “Tac” Padilla who won several medals in the Southeast Asian Games and was a many time national champion in the rapid fire, center fire, and standard pistol events.
According to Tac, his father had been confined in a hospital since June this year.
Besides Tac, Ong is survived by children Mica and Donald.
The body lies in state at Arlington Funeral Home on Araneta Ave., Quezon City. Interment date will be announced later.