A mother’s anguish: ‘They cheated my son (Mark Barriga)’By Artemio T. Engracia Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
LONDON—There are a few things more heartbreaking for a mother than to witness her boy lose in the biggest contest of his life.
Such was the anguish of Melita Barriga on Saturday as she watched her son, Mark Anthony, lose a fight he rightfully won in the round of 16 of the boxing competition in the 30th Olympic Games in London.
It’s hard to accept the defeat, she said, especially because she thought her boy had won the fight against Kazakhstan’s Birzhan Zhakypov.
Melita is one of more than a hundred mothers who were flown to London by Procter & Gamble for its global Olympic theme honoring mothers all over the world for their role in developing Olympians.
“The hardest job in the world is truly the best job in the world,” is the poignant tribute to mothers in television commercials that have gone viral in the Internet leading up to the London Olympics.
According to Anama Dimapilis, brand public relations manager of P&G in Manila, Barriga’s mother was the one and only candidate chosen by her company to go to London because her son was the only Filipino who had qualified for the Olympics when the deadline came to submit a name.
Barriga’s father Edgar had chaperoned Mrs. Barriga in London. It was the couple’s first trip abroad.
On Saturday night, Mark and his parents had dinner with Ricky Vargas, president of the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines. Mark’s parent left for home Sunday morning.
Edgar is a printing machine operator for a fruit company in Panabo City in Davao del Norte. Melita is a housewife. The Barriga couple had hoped to extend their stay in London. Unfortunately, their son ran into a wrestler, not a boxer, in the round of 16 of the boxing competition here.
Melita watched in pain as the Kazakh time and again pushed low and slammed her son against the ropes and into the canvas. On two of these occasions, Mark, was penalized, adding a total of four points to his opponent’s score. He eventually lost by a point.
Like any mother, Melita had been against Mark’s boxing career. She was aware of the dangers of the sport and was persistent with her opposition, until he qualified for the Olympics. Mark himself eventually convinced his mother to drop her opposition.
On Saturday, Melita was an angry mother. She was in a fighting mood.
“It’s very clear the referee cheated my son,” Melita said in Filipino.
She may not know boxing much, but she knew her son was robbed.