‘It would have been tragic if we didn’t even try’By Recah Trinidad
Philippine Daily Inquirer
THE AMATEUR Boxing Association of the Philippines (Abap) has done its best, given time limitations, to qualify Filipino boxers to this year’s Olympic Games in London. Abap executive director Ed Picson explains:
Allow me to clarify several points raised in your April 9, 2012 column titled “Goodbye to London; another view” where you quoted heavily our good friend, Manny Piñol.
1) [Former North Cotabato] Gov. Piñol is an esteemed friend and a respected boxing man. He was one of the first that the new ABAP leadership consulted upon assuming office.
We regret that he decided not to present his “National Amateur Development Blueprint” in Bacolod over three years ago, or any time after that.
Coming from him, we would have seriously considered such a proposal. But it is never too late; if Gov. Piñol is still willing to share it with us, we are prepared to sit down with him and discuss his blueprint.
2) That Charly Suarez “was pumped up quick to fit into the lightweight calendar”:
Charly moved up in weight in late 2010. It was his personal decision because he felt he had already outgrown the 56- to 57-kilogram weight limit. He carved a name for himself in the World Series of Boxing early this year fighting as a lightweight, where one of his victims was a 5-foot-11 Thai boxer he knocked out in the second round. He also won the 2011 Southeast Asian Games gold in the 60 kg division.
3) We were never “deluded into believing the Olympic quest could be fast-tracked.” We worked with the material we had. We trained the boxers, gave them the necessary tools and entered them in various tournaments, including the Olympic qualifiers.
That most of them did not succeed is unfortunate but it would have been more tragic if we did not even try. As it is, we qualified one and came within a hair of getting another in. We will again enter the Women’s Qualifying Tournament this May in China.
4) Neither do we have illusions about being boxing experts. What we try to do is inject a workable system based on a solid organizational structure; giving the youth in the countryside an opportunity to get into the national pool; determine what is needed to maximize the talent and skills of our boxers and manage the association funds in as effective and prudent manner as possible.
We have a competent, experienced and dedicated coaching staff that has spent countless years immersed in the sport. They do the teaching and training; our boxers do the fighting and punching.
Testament to the respect garnered by the Abap leadership is the recent appointment of Abap president Ricky Vargas as honorary vice president of the Asian Boxing Confederation (ASBC).
The Philippines was likewise chosen as host of the upcoming Asian Youth Championship in September.
5) We beg to dispute the observation that there have been “no organized tournaments” under our watch.
Since 2009, we have regularly held regional and national tournaments all over the archipelago, to wit: Bacolod City; Ormoc City; Panabo, Davao del Norte (twice); Tayabas, Quezon; Puerto Princesa City; Misamis Oriental (twice); Mandaue City, Cebu; Quezon City; Mandaluyong City (twice), and Tagbilaran, Bohol.
That’s 12 major tournaments in three years. Over a thousand aspiring boxers showcased their talents in these tournaments.
From these, we have unraveled exciting new prospects who have been training with Abap and who are expected to carry the torch when their time comes.
We are proud to say that even as we agree with you that the “Olympic quest should not be fast-tracked,” we discovered Mark Anthony Barriga in 2010. As you know, he is our lone Olympic qualifier thus far.
In 2011, we came upon Eumir Felix Marcial, the first Filipino World Junior Champion. Dennis Galvan, batch 2009, won the gold in the light welterweight division in the 2011 SEA Games.
The Abap claims no monopoly on good intentions, ideas or motivations. Anyone who wishes to give constructive criticism and opinions is welcome. We especially appreciate your contributions through the years and will always hold them in high regard.
Executive Director, Abap
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