Buoyed by belief, Hergie Bacyadan nears Paris Olympics slot

Buoyed by belief, Hergie Bacyadan nears Paris Olympics slot

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 06:05 PM June 01, 2024

Hergie Bacyadan Paris Olympics

Hergie Bacyadan.–June Navarro/INQUIRER

BANGKOK—Hergie Bacyadan hates to upset the people who believe in her ability to thrive in the ring.

Bacyadan made them proud on Saturday by moving a step closer to securing a spot in the 2024 Paris Olympics in a split-decision victory over Veronika Nakota of Hungary, 3-2, at the World Boxing Olympic Qualification Tournament.

Behind the scorecards after the opening round, the power-punching Kalinga native unleashed the prowess in her fists in the succeeding rounds to advance to the quarterfinals of the women’s 75kg division at the Indoor Stadium Huamark here.

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“She defended herself pretty well in the first round, so I executed plan B, which was to go all out and give everything I have,” said Bacyadan in Filipino.

Bacyadan, the first Filipino world champion in the Vietnamese indigenous combat sports of vovinam, faces Venezuela’s Maryelis Yriza in the final eight on Sunday where the winner claims a slot to the Paris Summer Games in July.

“I don’t want to disappoint my coaches, (Philippine Olympic Committee secretary general) Atty. Wharton (Chan) and my tribe in Kalinga,” the teary-eyed Bacyadan told the Inquirer. “They all believe in me.”

Taller and gifted with a longer reach, Nakota tactically engaged Bacyadan in a fight where the Filipino found it difficult to penetrate her shield.

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READ: Hergie Bacyadan flaunts power, trounces first-round foe

It annoyed Bacyadan and began launching those forceful punches in the second round. She connected with a cracking overhead left and let loose a combination to the head that jarred the 19-year-old Hungarian.

With both sides gaining the approval of the judges after two rounds, Bacyadan continued the onslaught, throwing a sneaky left hook followed by another combo to the face with 20 seconds remaining in the third, leaving Nakota visibly shaken.

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“I just cannot go along with her strategy, so what I did was focused on my power and the timing was good,” said Bacyadan.

Winning over Zokirova on Sunday will put Bacyadan in the company of Paris qualifiers Eumir Marcial, Aira Villegas and Nesthy Petecio.

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Carlo Paalam could likewise join them with a victory over India’s Sachin Sachin in the men’s 57kg semifinal late Saturday night.

Follow Inquirer Sports’ special coverage of the Paris Olympics 2024.

TAGS: Hergie Bacyadan, Paris Olympics

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