Can Abap beat them to the punch?By Recah Trinidad
Philippine Daily Inquirer
CHEERS! There’s every reason to celebrate—the louder the better—Josie Gabuco’s light flyweight gold medal in the World Women’s Boxing Championship in Qinhuangdao, China.
It’s the first medal of its kind for the country in the biennial championship, which definitely augurs great for the development program being pursued briskly by the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines.
It cannot feel like the real thing: Olympic gold medal.
But imagine if the decision makers in the London Olympics had bothered to include Gabuco’s division in this year’s calendar?
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It’s not the same case with Charly Suarez, a natural featherweight, who had to move up and campaign in the lightweight division where he slimly missed a trip to this year’s Olympics after bowing to a taller, sharper Chinese foe.
But, imagine if Suarez had the chance to campaign as a legit featherweight?
Possibilities would be boundless if our talented campaigners are given the chance to compete in their rightful brackets.
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By the way, didn’t the famous trainer Freddie Roach himself say he would not be surprised if a woman warrior from the national amateur boxing pool beats a male counterpart in the race to win the country’s first Olympic gold medal?
Roach did not say it, but he apparently based his view on the fact that the country appeared to have more available women campaigners who could readily fit into the exacting measurements—not to say adopt the necessary philosophy and outlook—inherently required of a legit Olympic gold hunter.
Of course, it was not the fault of the Abap that it had to cram and push a powerful but definitely smaller bet in the case of Suarez once the featherweight class was scratched from London.
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In fact, our lone London Olympic boxing qualifier, Marc Anthony Barriga, has made it in the Olympic light flyweight class where he, pardon this, is generally deemed small if not totally flimsy.
By the way, it was not the intention of this reporter to accuse our amateur boxing leaders of having allowed themselves to be deluded into believing that the Olympic quest could be fast-tracked.
They had originally declared that a gold medal in the 2016 Olympics should be a suitable target for their young program.
But they could not also be blamed if they had allowed themselves to be carried away by the subsequent victories in regional tournaments like the Southeast Asian Games and Asian Games.
These friends were next overheard declaring that gold should be the only way to London, or something to that effect.
Abap was also correct in saying “It would have been doubly tragic if they didn’t even try.”
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Of course, we find it our duty to remind our friends that there are more than enough talents waiting to be tapped deep, deep down the grassroots.
Sportsman Manny Piñol, former governor of North Cotabato, told us he has now at least three talented boxers, equipped with the ample measurements in their brackets, ready to show their wares in a national amateur tournament.
Out there in Dagupan, Gov. Amado T. Espino has offered to put up a barangay-based boxing development program designed to lead to the staging of a provincial boxing championship.
Espino said he plans to get in touch with the Abap to seek advice and technical assistance in putting up the program.
Espino said he would try to seek a memorandum of agreement with the Abap.
Knowing Ed Picson, the hardworking Abap executive secretary, it won’t be a surprise if he beats Espino to the punch.
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