With 4 Filipino boxers in the Philippine roster for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippine (ABAP) president Ricky Vargas is more than hopeful for the country’s medal haul to come from the sport.
“For the Philippine pride and glory, the next immediate target is a medal or medals in Tokyo this July. It will not be easy, but we believe it is within reach,” said Vargas in the 2020 Philippines Sportswriters Association (PSA) virtual awards.
As women’s boxing world champion Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam qualify for the quadrennial meet via the top Asian ranking for their weight classes, they join Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno in training for the Olympics slated on July 23 to August 8, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.
Seeing the number of Olympic qualifiers double since the 2012 London Olympics, Vargas has an ambitious goal of having 8 Filipino boxers in the 2024 Paris Games.
“So we have been doubling the number every Olympic year. [We target] 8 boxers in Paris 2024. Like I said, we do have rather ambitious goals.”
According to Vargas, ABAP has been investing on a team of sports science professionals, such as sports psychologists, nutritionists and strength and conditioning coaches, who have been vital in the athletes’ journeys.
But the ABAP president also calls for support from the Philippine sports community to help keep the boxers focused on their Olympic road.
“We need the entire community to ensure optimal performance by our boxers in the Olympics. We need all hands on deck. We need to have positive environment, enable our athletes to focus on their job upon,” added Vargas as Marcial and Magno recently voiced out their issues on delayed allowances from the Philippine Sports Commission.
Marcial qualified for the men’s middleweight class (75 kg), Magno in the women’s flyweight (52 kg), Petecio in the women’s featherweight (57 kg), and Paalam in the men’s flyweight class (52kg). – Rappler.com