6 PH boxers eye Rio Olympics berths
PHILIPPINE Sports Commission chair Richie Garcia is counting on the national boxers to finally seize an Olympic spot in the Asia-Oceania Olympic Qualifying tournament in Qian’an, China.
Six Filipino boxers, led by Asian Games silver medalist Charly Suarez (60 kg) and Southeast Asian Games gold medalists Mario Fernandez (56 kg) and welterweight Eumir Felix Marcial, will leave Wednesday for the qualifier in the hopes of making it to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics set Aug. 5 to 21.
“I want only the best for our boxers. All of us are hoping that they qualify,” said Garcia.
Also competing in the meet are light flyweight Rogen Ladon, flyweight Roldan Boncales and Nesthy Petecio (women’s flyweight 51 kg). They were chosen from 14 boxers who recently trained in the United States for 18 days.
So far, only Filipino-American hurdler Eric Cray and weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz have punched tickets to Rio.
Ladon came close to clinching an Olympic berth in the Aiba world championship in Doha last year after claiming a bronze medal in the 49 kg class.
“We have a better chance to qualify now because the best have already qualified and will no longer compete there,” said Garcia.
The China tournament includes all Asian countries, Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and other Pacific islands.