THE Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines welcomes the challenge of doing good in the Asian Games and qualify as many boxers in the 2024 Paris Olympics at the same time.
ABAP Executive Director Marcus Jarwin Manalo believes Filipino boxers will have added motivation competing in next year’s Asiad in Hangzhou, China following the decision of the International Olympic Committee to make the quadrennial showcase as one of the qualifying events for the next Olympics.
“At the end of the day, you really prepare for these tournaments, and you’re really aiming to qualify through tournaments. And obviously, we’re going to prepare for the Asian Games, so now it’s like hitting two birds in one stone. You perform well in the Asian Games, and get the chance to also qualify in the Olympics. So I think it’s going to be better for us,” said Manalo on Tuesday during the online Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.
The IOC recently simplified the boxing qualification to the Paris Games by declaring regional multi-sports events as Olympic qualifiers such as the Asiad, European Games, Pan-American Games, Pacific Games, and similar tournaments in Africa.
Two more world qualifiers will be held in 2024 to be supervised as well by the IOC as AIBA (International Boxing Association) remains suspended by the Olympic body owing to leadership and credibility issues.
So far, no guidelines have been made as to how many Olympic slots are at stake among the continental events.
“There’s no specific guidelines as to how many slots are going to be available in the Asian Games,” said Manalo. “It’s really a big challenge, but we’re up on it. We’re just going to focus on what we can control. And obviously, we need to take care of our preparations.”
The Asiad is slated on Sept. 23 to October 8 next year.
Head coach Don Abnett, who also graced the session presented by San Miguel Corporation, MILO, Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, Amelie Hotel Manila, and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, is planning to have the national boxing team exposed in various overseas competitions, and possibly spend training camp in China.
“We’re sticking to our normal training program, but we’d like to see our athletes get exposure possibly to China prior to the Asian Games next year. We’d like to go over there for a couple of months,” said Abnett, credited for giving the boxing team a multiple medal finish in last year’s Tokyo Olympics courtesy of silver winners Nesty Petecio and Carlo Paalam, together with bronze medalist Eumir Felix Marcial.
Petecio, Paalam, and Marcial are again medal prospects for the country in Paris, according to Manalo, while also adding the likes of Rogen Ladon, Aira Villegas, Irish Magno, Ian Clark Bautista, and upcoming women’s middleweight bet Hergie Bacyadan, who Abnett describes as very promising.
“She has a strong chance in the middleweight. She’s improving all the time and boxing very well at the moment,” said the Australian coach of Bacyadan, the wushu athlete-turned boxer who recently won a gold in the Thailand Open International Boxing Tournament.
The boxing team, which is currently training in Baguio, will have its initial preparation and training for the Olympic qualifier when it campaigns in the Asian Boxing Championships set in Amman, Jordan from Oct. 30 to Nov. 13.
In three weeks, the team is going to leave for Jordan initially, for a training camp, and eventually, for the tournament proper.
“We will have a two-week training camp in Jordan, so it’s a pre-tournament training camp that starts on Oct. 14. First couple of weeks we’ll do training camp before we start competing in the Asian Championships,” said Manalo.