ANTIQUE, Philippines (UPDATED) – Matthew Jade Tapang, the boxer whose parents traveled from Kidapawan City to Antique, ended his Palarong Pambansa 2017 journey abruptly, after he fainted and bumped his head during the official weigh in of the sport at the Freedom Park on Wednesday, April 26.
Tapang, who was representing the Davao Region (XI) in the boxing elementary mosquito weight division, won the elimination rounds and was supposed to against Mimaropa for a chance at bronze when the incident happened.
Tournament supervisor Karina Picson said Tapang will no longer be allowed to play for this year’s boxing games, following protocol.
“Yesterday morning, while waiting for his weigh in and medical check-up, he fell hard, head first, on the concrete floor. It was loud. We were all there, I even personally asked the boy what happened,” Picson told Rappler in a phone interview.
She added: “The tournament doctor checked him and recommended that he shouldn’t be allowed to play until they can present a medical clearance and CT-scan.”
Boxing in the elementary division was scraped out of the Palarong Pambansa official games in 2014 after the death of Jonas Garcia due to internal hemorrhage in 2013. It was only resumed last year.
“We just want to stick to the rules. We don’t want anything to happen to our athletes under our watch,” Picson added.
Picson also stated that the coaches tried to persuade them to allow Matthew to play by bringing their delegation physician. They failed to provide the required medical documents.
“The boy is still young. He still has a promising life ahead of him. He can compete once he gets cleared,” Picson, who is also the assistant to the executive director of the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP), said.
Appeal for help
Ariel Tapang, Matthew’s father drove his tricycle more than 1,000 kilometers across Visayas and Mindanao to accompany and support his son for his boxing games.
“Okay naman siya. Sabi ng doctor namin pwede siya maglaro pero hindi siya pinayagan. Hindi nila sinabi kaagad na kelangan ng CT-scan. Sinabihan ko sila kahit mag sign ako ng waiver, hindi naman nila ako pinapasok. Masakit lang sa kalooban na makitang iyak ng iyak. Pangarap niya to eh,” Ariel told Rappler. (READ: Can you help Palaro athlete’s family get home to Kidapawan?)
(He’s ok. Our doctor said he can play but they won’t let him. They didn’t tell us ahead that we needed a CT-Scan. I told them I was willing to sign a waiver to let him play but they didn’t allow me. It pains my heart to see my son cry. This is his dream.)
The family had to borrow P10,000 to support their needs on the road to Antique. Now that Matthew’s journey has ended, they plan to come home together with their son once they raise enough money for food and gasoline.
“Pumunta kami dito nanghiram lang ng pera. Sana may maawa samin at tumulong,” Ariel appealed. (We came here with borrowed money. Hopefully, somebody with a kind heart could help us.)
The Palarong Pambansa games will end on Saturday, April 29. – Rappler.com
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