Olympic silver medalists Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam and bronze medalist Eumir Marcial are the country’s brightest boxing hopes for the next edition of the Summer Games, based solely on their performances in Tokyo last year.
Those achievements, however, won’t be enough to book them free tickets to the Paris 2024 Olympics.
To get there, they’ll need to go through qualifying tournaments, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) put a new one in their path: The Asian Games (Asiad) slated in China next year.
“You perform well in the Asian Games, and get the chance to also qualify to the Olympics,’’ said Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines executive director Marcus Jarwin Manalo during the Philippine Sportswriters Association forum on Tuesday.
“It’s like hitting two birds with one stone, so I think it’s going to be better for us,’’ added Manalo.
The road to the boxing competitions in the Paris Games has been simplified by the IOC, which announced that continental multisport events such as the Asian Games, European Games, Pan-American Games, Pacific Games and similar meets in Africa will function as qualifiers.
Apart from these, two more world qualifiers have been penciled in 2024 under the supervision of the IOC since the International Boxing Association remains suspended due to leadership and credibility controversies.
“As of now, there’s no specific guidelines as to how many slots are going to be available in the Asian Games [on Sept. 23 to Oct. 8 next year],’’ said Manalo.
“It’s really a big challenge, but we’re up to it. We’re just going to focus on what we can control. And obviously, we need to take care of our preparations,’’ he added in the weekly online forum.
Aside from Petecio, Paalam and Marcial, 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympian Rogen Ladon, Ian Clark Bautista and female boxers Aira Villegas, Tokyo Olympian Irish Magno and Hergie Bacyadan are capable of landing those Olympic spots.
“She (Bacyadan) has a strong chance in the middleweight. She’s improving all the time and boxing very well at the moment,’’ said head coach Don Abnett, the Australian who is largely credited for the podium finishes of the national boxing team in the Tokyo Summer Games last year.