Amateur boxing’s Olympic gold drive as strong as ever, says VargasBy Dennis U. Eroa
MANILA, Philippines—The drive to give the country its first Olympic gold is as strong as ever, but Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines president Ricky Vargas feels the country needs to send more qualifiers to the world’s greatest sporting event.
Speaking before members of the Philippine Sportswriters Association, Vargas said it is important that the national team, bankrolled by PLDT, comes up with three to four boxers to enhance the country’s chances of winning a medal in next year’s London Olympics.
‘‘We have not stopped dreaming and we look forward to the new challenge,” said Vargas Tuesday during the special PSA Forum in a Pasay City restaurant.
‘‘Let’s go and qualify first and then let’s train them to the hilt for the Olympics.”
Raul Alvarez, the PLDT head of marketing and retail services, who also graced the Forum presented by Smart, Pagcor, Outlast Battery, and Shakey’s, said the Abap’s “Suntok Ginto” fund-raising program is still alive.
Abap secretary-general Pato Gregorio, executive director Ed Picson, coaches Pat Gaspi, Nolito and Roel Velasco and Southeast Asian Games gold medalists Josie Gabuco, Charly Suarez and Dennis Galvan also attended the foum.
Light flyweight Mark Anthony Barriga became the country’s first Olympic qualifier after landing in the Top 10 of his class in the World Championship last year.
Picson said that the Abap has also written the Philippine Olympic Committee to endorse Asian Games gold medalist Rey Saludar as a wild card in London, while Gregorio said Charly Suarez may gain a slot if he figures prominently in the World Series of Boxing in India.
Vargas also announced that Abap chair Manny V. Pangilinan will reward the SEA Games gold medalists P300,000 each on top of the P100,000 incentive from the Philippine Sports Commission.