Lone child entries can win, can’t they?By Recah Trinidad
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Those who have observed that the Philippines has the lone boy entry in the London Olympic boxing calendar said so with both awe and deep hope.
Nineteen-year-old Mark Anthony Barriga, lone Filipino boxer in the 2012 Olympic Games, is a lot smaller than all other entries in the 48-kg (light flyweight) category.
He’s what would readily be classified as saling-pusa, a tiny, lost kitten of a kid that had strayed into a schoolroom swarming with full-grown boys.
It was not exactly a silly case of entering a grade-schooler in a tough competition among senior college students.
But with his petty build and choir-boy looks, there naturally were doubts how this flimsy entry could sail through the expected storm in the Olympic tournament.
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It was not solely the fault of national amateur boxing leaders that they had been caught in the dilemma.
There was in fact a husky, power-punching hope in lightweight Charly Suarez, who missed making it to London by a few measly points against a taller Chinese foe.
There could have been other bigger, more solid entries for the country in boxing, but they will have to wait for another four years, once the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines is able to utilize a longer, deeper talent search in the grassroots.
Of course, Barriga, with his training and international exposure, would not be needing a miracle to figure impressively.
But luck he should have, for him not to be drawn early against top contenders, like defending Olympic champion Zhu Shiming, who overwhelmed the lone Filipino hope during the Kazakhstan Olympic Qualifier.
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This following report may have no place here but, honestly, it’s being mentioned to congratulate and thank those who have supported the Mandaluyong Children’s Chorus, once called by premier broadcaster Mike Enriquez as Mayor Benhur Abalos’ hidden gems.
The multi-awarded choir, which started its winning ways with a silver-medal win in the Busan Choir Olympics in 2002, was scheduled to touch down late last night at the Clark Air Base in Pampanga.
They were returning with a total of four medals—two golds and two silvers—from the 2012 Asia Cantate International Choral Festival in Phuket, Thailand.
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“I am very proud to be Pinoy,” said Sanny Jegillos of the United Nations Development Program.
Jegillos, a resident of Sta. Ana, Manila now based in Bangkok, burned the lines and went out of his way to see the Mandaluyong Children’s Choir through a land connection dilemma.
Jegillos, using his connections, finally succeeded last weekend, on the eve of the choir’s departure via Tiger Air, to secure a two-way 12-hour bus transport for the choir. The efforts of the respected UN crisis control consultant also saved enough cash for the meals and extra allowance of the young competitors.
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Anyway, in reference to boxer Barriga, the Mandaluyong choir also happened to be the lone children’s choir in the categories they competed in.
“A total of 24 choirs from China, Thailand, Macau, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and two from the Philippines competed,” Sebastian L. Trinidad, the choir master and conductor told the Inquirer yesterday.
He continued: “It was a tough competition for us. We were the only children’s choir in the categories we entered in. Budget constraints deprived us from having a pianist and this pushed us into a rare feat for a treble choir to have an all acapella program in all events.”
He thanked Sanny Jegillos, civic worker Nandy Charvet, trader Lucio “Luchi” Yan, and specifically Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos.
The group plans to hand over the hard-earned medals today during the celebration for Benhur’s 50th birthday at the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club.
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