A bully pulpit for Black Saturday
PHILIPPINE Sports Commission Chair Richie Garcia is upbeat about our boxing hopefuls finally nailing down slots to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro via the Asia-Oceania Olympic qualifying tournament March 25 to April 2 in Qian’an, China.
It’s an odd turn of events after Garcia, without the imprimatur of Philippine Olympic Committee President Jose Cojuangco Jr., turned down a budget of P3 million for the boxers’ just-ended training camp in California.
Six Filipino boxers—Asian Games silver medalist Charly Suarez (60 kg), Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Mario Fernandez (56 kg), welterweight Eumir Felix Marcial, light flyweight Roger Ladon, flyweight Roldan Boncales and woman flyweight Nesthy Petecio—are now at the qualifying venue after a 19-hour trip from Manila, counting flight delays and missed connections.
“But the boxers remain in good spirits,” reports Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) executive director Ed Picson with the team in China.
Picson says “the US trip did a lot to boost… confidence, motivation and morale. They (boxers) faced a slew of sparring partners in Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.”
“One trait that they said was characteristic of American boxers—they don’t back down, they keep coming at you even when they’re losing a match—toughened the team in America,” according to Picson.
The other boxers who didn’t make it to the team in China are still not out of it. There’s the Women’s Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan, and the APB-WSB qualifiers in Sofia, Bulgaria, in May and the Final Aiba World Olympic Qualifier in Baku, Azerbaijan in June.
“So they need to keep in tip-top shape to get an opportunity to participate in those tourneys,” said Picson.
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An environmental lawyer was bringing canoe races to Sitio Namagyan in Candon City to gain a bully pulpit and give hundreds of beach goers ringside seats for the festivities on Black Saturday.
But ferocious winds and choppy waters cancelled the event to the dismay of participants and spectators alike.
Robert Tudayan said the abortive races were the request of seaside residents and would have featured rainbow-colored boats cutting across the waters in pursuit of each other for cash prizes.
The people of Barangays Tamurong 1 and 2 on the shores of the West Philippine Sea want their waters unspoiled and way of life unchanged. Their wish mirrors that of many ocean-side communities around the islands that would not want to wake up one day to find haphazard growth in their neck of the woods.
That’s why the villagers, who are mostly fishermen, look down on impresarios with a carnival in mind. But not on Tudayan and his message of sea protection and thoughtful fishing for all.
The lawyer tells me sometimes it takes a chamber of commerce attitude and a fiesta atmosphere to drive home the moral of the story.
After all, the two Tamurongs and the seaside hamlets of Candon City are eternally filled with hope for their fisher folk to land swordfish, flying fish, yellow and blue fin tuna, sea bass and other in-season catches each day.
Heck, they even would want to be regaled with stories of their intrepid bread winners’ own epic encounters with the dorado and the blue marlin, known as susay in the Ilocano dialect.
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