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ABAP in dilemma over priorities


PhilBoxing.com



Picson.

It?s no secret that the ABAP pool of national boxers is inclined to prioritize the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games over tougher competitions like the Asian Games, Olympics and the AIBA World Championships because the chances of striking gold are higher but the focus is counter-productive to the effort in taking the sport to the next level.

ABAP executive director/secretary-general Ed Picson said the other day the incentives awaiting SEA Games medalists are enticing national fighters to concentrate on the sub-regional tournament. While the bonus for a podium finish at the Asian Games and Olympics is bigger, the probability of success is lower than in the SEA Games.

?We?re in a dilemma,? said Picson. ?The SEA Games are scheduled on Aug. 19-31 in Kuala Lumpur while the AIBA World Championships will be held on Aug. 25-Sept. 3 in Hamburg. If you ask our top boxers, they?d rather fight at the SEA Games because of the higher probability of winning a medal. You can?t blame the fighters who?d rather go to the SEA Games and win medals than the World Championships where their chances of winning are slim.?

Under R. A. 10699, a SEA Games gold medalist is given a reward of P300,000 with the silver medalist receiving P150,000 and the bronze medalist, P60,000. At the Asian Games, a gold medalist earns P2 Million, a silver medalist P1 Million and the bronze medalist P400,000. The Olympic gold medalist will receive P10 Million, the silver medalist P5 Million and the bronze medalist, P2 Million. In a world-level competition such as the AIBA World Championships, the incentives are P1 Million for the gold medalist, P500,000 for the silver medalist and P200,000 for the bronze medalist. A world-level competition is defined as an international event held at least once in two years with participants from at least 45 countries. At the last AIBA World Championships in Doha in 2015, there were 260 boxers from over 70 countries.

?A medal in the SEA Games also guarantees an upgrade in the monthly salary of an athlete from the PSC,? said Picson. ?You?ve got fighters whose focus is only to win in the SEA Games because it?s a lot easier to do than in the Asian Games where they contend with countries like China, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Japan. Take for instance Josie Gabuco who has won four SEA Games gold medals but none at the Asian Games.?

Picson said the national pool consists of 37 fighters, 10 of whom are women. Among the prominent boxers are Ian Clark Bautista, Mario Fernandez, Charly Suarez, Rogen Ladon. Eumir Marcial and Carlo Paalam. With the schedules of the SEA Games and AIBA World Championships overlapping, Picson is in a bind as to whom to send for both competitions.

A highly-regarded prospect is Paalam who settled for the silver at the AIBA World Youth Championships in St. Petersburg, Russia, last year. Picson said AIBA recently included Paalam in a campaign to showcase the prospects to watch on a global basis.

?Right now, there are no Filipino boxers in the World Series of Boxing and APB, AIBA?s programs in pro boxing,? said Picson. ?Charly and Mark Anthony Barriga used to play. Charly is still with the national pool while Mark has turned pro. The SEA Games are just around the corner so we?ll make some hard decisions soon to determine who?ll go to Kuala Lumpur and who?ll go to Hamburg.?


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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