WE NEED A STRONG OLYMPIC BOXING PROGRAM
By Recah Trinidad
Fri, 05 Aug 2016
SHOULDN?T Filipino sports leaders and fans start feeling good over the apparent onset of a great new era in Philippine boxing, now that the country has gathered together a total of four Pinoy world champions?
The sensational knockout triumph of the obscure Mindanao warrior Marlon Tapales over a Thai world champion who had previously paraded a total of 20 Filipinos as victims was indeed worthy of celebration.
There was no rousing welcome or any colorful celebration for Tapales, who headed straight to his simple place in Lala, Lanao del Sur after the rousing 11th round stoppage of Thai terror Pongluang Sor Singya. Just the same, his great feat also led countless fans to hope for even bigger things to come for Philippine boxing, which has been the traditional source of national pride on the international stage.
Is Philippine boxing indeed on the verge of a new binge in world boxing?
Not so fast please, cautioned the Associated Press, which went on to explain that Filipino boxing Olympians Rogen Ladon and Charly Suarez were not even mentioned as contenders in the Rio de Janeiro Summer Games.
For the record, both Ladon (light flyweight) and Suarez (lightweight) had expressed hopes for luck in the boxing draw, praying they would not be paired outright against any of the stellar contenders in their respective division.
They may have to use more than plain luck if they hope to advance at all.
In Ladon?s case, the AP said, there?s Vasily Egorov of Russia, the top gold medal hope, and Paddy Barnes of Ireland, listed as strong contender for the silver medal. It was added that the two bronzes would most likely go to Joahnnys Argilagos of Cuba and Birzhan Zhakypov of Kazakhstan.
In the Suarez bracket, Cuban Lazaro Alvarez was tipped to take the gold, with the silver medal possibly being snatched by Albert Selimov of Azerbajan. Robson Conceicao of Brazil and Amnat Roenreng of Thailand have been listed as strong bets for the bronze.
The seedings reported by the AP was not surprising at all. Ladon and Suarez were not mentioned among the topnotch contenders all for the simple fact that they had failed to qualify outright for the Olympic competition. Both Ladon and Suarez had to compete in an extra qualifying tournament in China, meaning they had to try a second time, or go through the backdoor, before they could be ticketed for the tight, exacting medal battles in the Rio Olympics.
Not to say that the chances of the two Filipino boxers in the 2016 Olympics are quite slim, it not nil.
Truth is that, even before the final cast was completed, there were questions being raised about the procedure being followed in the preparation of Filipino simonpures for the Olympic trial.
Himself speaking, Ricky Vargas, president of the Alliances of Boxing Associations in the Philippines (Abap), said he was not at all satisfied with the result of their Olympic quest. Vargas said he had expected a total of five Filipino boxers to make it to the Rio Games.
Even the Abap executive director, Ed Picson, was left facing a blank wall.
?We could?ve qualified more, but it?s what it is,? he pointed out bluntly.
There was a problem somewhere else but, at least, there was no finger-pointing.
Of course, those in the know were also left wondering why the Philippines could produce four world professional champions in a single season, while the Abap continued to be frustrated in its search for surefire campaigners in the Olympics.
Yes, there?s a probelm somewhere else, and we will try to come up with suggestions for a reformative program that could be implemented by the Philippine Sports Commission, in support of the beleaguered national amateur boxing association.
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