MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine boxers hope to join star gymnast Carlos Yulo and pole vaulter EJ Obiena in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as they try to snag slots to the quadrennial meet in the 2020 Asia and Oceania boxing Olympic qualifying tournament on March 3 to 11 in Amman, Jordan.
The Filipino pugs were given an additional month to prepare for the continental qualifying tournament, which was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China, the original host of the qualifiers.
Who are competing? Last Friday, the Philippine boxing team – bannered by World Championships medalists Nesthy Petecio and Eumir Marcial – deparated for Jordan from Bangkok, where they held their training camp. (READ: Nesthy Petecio targets Olympic dream for her family)
Fresh off a seven-gold medal haul in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, the 10-man Philippine delegation hopes to surpass the two-man 2016 Rio Olympics boxing team of Rogen Ladon and Charly Suarez.
Women’s boxing star Petecio, who is competing in the 57kg division, is riding on a golden streak after scoring a breakthrough win in the 2019 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships and dominating the 2019 SEA Games featherweight category.
She will compete in the featherweight division of the Olympic qualifiers.
World Chamipionships silver medalist Marcial looks to finally end his hearthbreaking Olympic qualifying run with a Tokyo berth in the middleweight category (75kg).
Aside from Petecio, Irish Magno and Riza Pasuit will also represent the Philippine women’s boxing team in the qualifying tournament.
Magno, a SEA Games silver medalist, vies for an Olympic slot in the flyweight (51kg) event, while newcomer Pasuit looks to impress in the lightweight category (60kg).
In the men’s side, Carlo Paalam is set to compete for a slot in the flyweight division (52kg), while SEA Games gold medalist James Palicte looks to champion the lightweight category (63kg).
SEA Games bronze medalist Ian Clark Bautista will represent the country in the featherweight division (57kg).
How will they qualify? Each weight class will have a different Olympic qualifying standard in both the men’s and women’s divisions.
In the women’s side, the top 6 finishers in the flyweight division (51kg), where Magno will compete, will earn slots, while only the top 4 or the semifinalists in the rest of the weight classes will advance.
In the men’s tournament, Philippine bets in the flyweight (52kg), featherweight (57kg) and lightweight (63kg) events will need at least a top 6 finish in order to qualify for the quadrennial meet.
In the welterweight (69kg), middleweight (75kg) and light heavyweight (81kg) events, only the top 5 boxers will advance to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
In this tournament, a box-off scenario will not be conducted. Instead, the 5th place will be awarded to the opponent of the eventual gold medalist in the quarterfinals and the top 6 player will be the quarterfinals opponent of the eventual silver medalist.
Is this their last chance to qualify? A lackluster result in the continental tournament will not end the Philippine boxers’ Olympic dreams.
The participants of the 2020 Asia and Oceania qualifiers who failed to earn a berth to the quadrennial meet can join the World Olympic Qualification Tournament from May 13 to 20 in Paris, France.
Philippine boxing hopes to secure slots for at least 6 Filipino pugs by the end of the qualification period in order to help the country meet its target of sending 38 Olympians this year.
The last Filipino pug to win a medal in the Summer Olympics is Onyok Velasco, who secured a silver medal in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. – Rappler.com
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