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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Tokyo medalists Paalam, Petecio to lead PH’s Paris Games pursuit

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A 10-member strong Philippine boxing contingent departed from Spain on Thursday (PH time), en route to Italy as they gear up to compete for coveted slots in the coming Paris Olympics.

Leading the team are Tokyo Olympic silver medalists Carlo Paalam and Nesthy Petecio.

The team comprises talents from both the men’s and women’s divisions, with Rogen Ladon, Mark Ashley Fajardo, Ronald Chavez Jr, and John Marvin representing the men, and Claudine Veloso, Aira Villegas, Riza Pasuit, and Hergie Bacyadan completing the women’s squad.

Veloso is a SEA Games’ kickboxing gold medalist, while Bacyadan has proven herself in the combat sport of vovinam, where she topped the World Championship just recently.

Fresh from an intensive two-week training camp in La Nuncia, Spain, the team is poised to showcase their skills at the Olympic qualifying tournament in Burcio Arsizio, Italy.

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This crucial event offers Paris Olympic berths to the top four finishers in each weight division.

Carlo Paalam

Acknowledging the formidable competition, Alliance of Boxing Association of the Philippines (ABAP) secretary general Marcus Manalo emphasized the heightened challenge this time.

With a larger field, including top-notch boxers who fell short in continental tournaments, the qualifying rounds promise to be a tough test for the Filipino pugilists.

Manalo expressed confidence though in the team’s readiness.

“We did what we could so our boxers are capable of facing and hurdling the challenges,” said Manalo in a radio interview.

Tokyo Olympics’ bronze medalist Eumir Marcial is, so far, the lone Filipino boxer assured of a slot in Paris after clinching silver in the Hangzhou Asiad last year.

Manalo and international technical official Karina Picson will join the team in Italy from Manila. Philippine Olympic Committee president Mayor Bambol Tolentino and secretary general Atty. Wharton Chan also committed to making the trip in time for the medal rounds to provide support.

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