Even if the world qualifying tournament for boxing has been cancelled, the Philippines still has a chance to send two more boxers to the Tokyo Olympics.
And officials of the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) are betting that Carlo Paalam and Nesthy Petecio can make it even if they don’t throw a single punch.
The pair could join early boxing entries Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno, to the Olympics.
ABAP president Ricky Vargas believes that Paalam and Petecio will still be able to go to Tokyo because of their status in the world rankings and the distribution of 53 allocated slots to all four member continents.
“Ike-claim na namin ito,” said Vargas during a discussion at the weekly program, “Power and Play,” on TV5.
Paalam is world ranked no. 12 in in the men’s 54-kg class and is no. 2 in Asia. Petecio is world no. 2 in in the women’s 57 kg. category, and is also the second highest ranked Asian.
This after the International Olympic Committee Boxing Taskforce decided to cancel the World Qualifying Tournament and to postpone the European Qualifiers last week.
The ABAP chief said the International Boxing Association (AIBA) is currently talking to member countries about this possibility.
During its discussions with the ABAP, AIBA officials said the ranking and quota system are useful at this point.
The ranking system, according to AIBA, was compiled on the basis of key tournaments of past years.
But, it does not take into account youth competitions and young boxers born in 2001-02 could be deprived of the chance to compete at the Games and fulfill their dream.
The AIBA still believes that a qualification tournament would be a more objective way to qualify for the Olympics.
But, since the schedules of the qualifiers have already pushed back by the date of the schedule of the Tokyo Olympics, ABAP executive director Ed Picson believes that the distribution of the 53 allocated slots for the Olympics will give Filipino boxers a better chance.
AIBA is now in discussion with member nations.
The world qualifier was originally scheduled for May 2020 in Paris but was postponed for this year because of the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
Two other uncompleted qualifiers, those of the Americas and Europe will push through, but had to be moved back to May and June, respectively.
At the moment, Paalam and Petecio are among several boxers who are training under “bubble conditions” at the INSPIRE Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.
They are set to leave for Thailand for a joint training camp late this month.
Also in Laguna are Magno, Rogen Ladon, Ian Clark Bautista, Mario Fernandez, Aira Villegas and others.
The BTF is scheduled to make the official announcement of those who will be qualified for Tokyo in March.