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Quest for RP?s first Olympic gold on


PhilBoxing.com




The quest for the country?s first ever gold medal continues.

And with a new partner in Puerto Princesa City Mayor Edward Hagedorn, Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines president Ricky Vargas expressed hopes that such a long-time dream can finally be realized, if not in the London Olympic Games in 2012, four years later in 2016.

The ABAP and Hagedorn, Vargas and the Puerto Princesa chief executive jointly announced yesterday, have struck a deal for the latter to host the First National Youth Invitational Boxing Championships on Jan. 25-29.

Formerly the National Open, the tournament is an ambitious talent-search program initiated by ABAP precisely to discover new and fresh faces from all over the archipelago, which according to Vargas, can be develop to become members of the national teams in future international competitions as the Southeast Asian Games, the Asian Games and the Olympics.
With Mayor Hagedorn and Puerto Princesa as our new partners, we hope that our ultimate goal in gifting the country our first ever gold medal in the Olympics can be realized sooner than we expect,? Vargas, who assumed the ABAP presidency last year, said during a press conference held at the newly-constructed ABAP gym within the historic Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.

The Youth Invitationals, actually, is a follow up project to the four area tournaments the ABAP had started last year.
Reason why, according to ABAP secretary general Patrick Gregorio, those invited to participate are winners of said area tilts held in Tayabas province in Luzon, Ormoc City in the Visayas, Panabo in Davao in Mindanao and Mandaluyong City in Metro Manila.

Also invited, ABAP executive director Ed Picson said, are non-winners in those and other tournaments that have showed exceptional talents as to considered membership in the national teams.

?It has been proven time and again that not all winners in tournaments are the best talents there are. There have also been non-winners who have subsequently proven better than those who beat them. We will also consider them,? Picson explained

While ABAP only expected to draw some 200 participants, Picson said that as of Wednesday last week, 270 have already confirmed their participation, proof, he said, of Mayor Hagedorn and his city?s reputation to produce positive results in whatever undertaking Puerto Princesa takes part in.

The reason for this, Vargas said is that ABAP?s thrust is not to limit participation but, if possible to raise it.

?ABAP is not for exclusion, but more for inclusion. You see, we might be excluding talents who could turn out to be what we really need. We don?t want that to happen and blame ourselves for our mistakes, ? he reasoned out.

Hagedorn, for his part said it?s an honor for him and his city to host such a big national undertaking, adding staging the tournament as part of the country?s search for an Olympic gold medal, can also be used as part of his government?s efforts of making Puerto Princesa the country?s sports and tourism capital.

Hagedorn said his city will be fielding a strong contingent if only to preserve its reputation of producing topnotch amateur boxers that had brought honor to the country as three-time Olympian Romeo Brin, 2009 SEA Games gold medalist Josie Gabuco and veteran international campaigner Gretchen Abaniel.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eddie Alinea.


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