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2020 Tokyo Olympics

ABAP looking to send four more boxers to Tokyo Olympics

ABAP is keeping its fingers crossed that the Tokyo Olympics will push through in July next year.

“I’m just hoping that the Olympics will push through because, this is our best chance,” ABAP president Ricky Vargas told Tuesday’s online version of the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum.

Vargas was reacting to wire reports saying that following a recent survey, over half of Tokyo residents who answered are not comfortable with the staging of the Olympics in 2021.

They either backed a “further delay or an outright cancellation” of the Tokyo Olympics.

The Philippines has two qualified boxers in Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno for the Tokyo Games. The country also hoped for a few more to make the grade, including Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam, Rogen Ladon, and Ian Clark Bautista.

“When I look at our boxers, we were ready (for Tokyo 2020),” said Vargas, who was joined in the forum powered by Smart and presented by San Miguel Corp., Go For Gold, PAGCOR, Amelie Hotel, and Braska Restaurant by ABAP secretary-general Ed Picson.

But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, everything came to a halt, including the rest of the qualifying tournaments.

“We lost steam,” lamented Vargas.

Picson said the Filipino boxers remain steadfast in their training even with no definite schedule on hand. He said training is done mostly with the coaches’ online supervision.

“But it’s not the same. Training online is not the same. We need to be able to go back to the gym and spar and box. Not only here, but overseas as well,” said Vargas.

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“Given the situation that is the next best thing,” Picson added.

Vargas said it’s difficult to pin their hopes on a vaccine for things to be even close to what they used to be.

“Mahirap hintayin ‘yung vaccine. They may have the vaccine, but normally it takes years before we’d like to risk ourselves in getting the vaccine.

“It’s very sad if the Olympics will not push through at least next year. Or we wait for the next Olympics (in Paris in 2024),” Vargas said. “It’s a very tough decision. The IOC (International Olympic Committee), I’ve been reading, is having a very difficult time because of all the investment put in by the Japanese government.”

The ABAP chief had high hopes that the country could win an elusive gold in the Tokyo Olympics — through boxing.

But the pandemic has turned things around.

“Sayang (It’s a pity). We were more ready then that we are now.”

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