Marcial: Pacquiao Olympic stint could generate excitement for national team
Eumir Marcial has been closely observing his possible rivals in the 2024 Paris Olympics as the tenacious field in his weight class unfolds.
But on a personal level, nothing could be more thrilling for Marcial if eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao could enter the Olympic ring next year in the French capital.
“I would love to see him (Pacquiao) compete in the Olympics. His presence alone could definitely boost my confidence,’’ said Marcial, who jump started his pro career in the United States three years ago through Pacquiao’s backing.
Not a few hurdles have cropped up in the Olympic bid of the 44-year-old Pacquiao, who is way past the maximum age limit of 40 for boxers in the Summer Games.
The Philippine Olympic Committee wrote the International Olympic Committee (IOC) a special request asking if Pacquiao could be made eligible for Paris.
“It will be a different experience when he joins the [boxing] team with the energy and excitement that he can bring. We all look up to him, he’s our hero,’’ said Marcial.
If an exemption for the Filipino ring icon is granted, Pacquiao can seize a spot in the Olympics through the qualification tournaments next year in Italy and Thailand.
The former Senator from General Santos City could likewise make it to Paris through a universality slot from the IOC.
Four universality places are available in men’s boxing in the featherweight, lightweight, welterweight and middleweight divisions.Marcial qualified in his second consecutive Olympics after bagging a silver medal in the recent Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
Marcial lost the light heavyweight gold to China’s Tuohetaerbie Tanglatihan, who likewise joined the field in Paris.
Nine of the 18 spots in their weight category have been filled with Salvatore Cavallaro of Italy, Ukraine’s Oleksandr Khyzhniak, Croatia’s Gabrijel Veocic and Murad Allahverdiyev of Azerbaijan qualifying through the 2023 European Games. INQ