Pacquiao to back weightlifting, boxing 2028 berths
Sen. Manny Pacquiao, a presidential candidate and world boxing icon, vowed to fight for boxing and weightlifting, which are in danger of getting delisted from the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics calendar of sports due to allegations of corruption and mismanagement.
“He (Pacquiao) is upset [by what’s happening to these sports]. He said it’s unfair for the country,” said Samahang Weightlifting sa Pilipinas president Monico Puentevella, who acts as Pacquiao’s adviser in politics and sports.
Both sports are significant parts of the country’s Olympic history, with weightlifting delivering the first Philippine gold medal in the Games in history and boxing adding two silvers and a bronze in Tokyo. The four medals represent the best performance by the country in the quadrennial Summer Games.
“If he wins [the presidential elections], the more reason he’ll appeal this case before the IOC (International Olympic Committee) personally,” said Puentevella. “That’s why I’m optimistic these will be reinstated within seven years.”
In Tokyo this year, the country ended an almost 100 years search for its first ever Olympic gold medal when Hidilyn Diaz topped the women’s -55 kilogram event of weightlifting competitions. She also set her weight class’ Games record in clean and jerk (127kg) and total (224kg).
Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam also won two silvers for the country and Eumir Marcial a bronze.
Meanwhile, Puentevellla said things are looking up for the 2024 Paris Games as he expects to qualify five lifters based on their performances during the recent International Weightlifting Federation World Championships in Uzbekistan.
“We did not win any medal this around, but if the Paris Games 2024 is held today, all of them will be qualified as they all placed among the top eight in the world,” said Puentevella.
Vanessa Sarno ended up fifth, Kristel Macrohon seventh, Elreen Ando fifth, John Febuar Ceniza eighth and Fernando Agad eighth.
“With enough luck, training and exposure we might be able to qualify four to five females in Paris including Hidilyn in case she decides to continue her golden journey,” added Puenetvella.
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