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Tokyo medalists hope UAAP, NCAA bring back boxing, add weightlifting

Both the University Athletic Association of the Philippines and the National Collegiate Association of the Philippines have been the breeding ground for numerous national athletes.

But the UAAP only has 16 sporting events while the NCAA only has 11 in its program.

With Philippine sports on the rise with the country’s successful outings in both the 30th Southeast Asian Games and the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tokyo gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz is hoping that weightlifting is added to the calendars of the collegiate leagues while silver medalists Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam, along with bronze winner Eumir Marcial, are wishing that boxing will be brought back as well.

“Talagang ‘yung sports, ni-unite tayo lahat as Filipinos. Sana makita po natin na ‘yung mga medalist dito ngayon at boxing at weightlifting,” said Diaz during Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association forum which is powered by Smart and has Upstream Media as official webcast partner.

“Wala pong weightlifting sa NCAA at UAAP, pati Palarong Pambansa. Sana ma-consider natin na ipasok.”

Diaz was given a scholarship by College of Saint Benilde after the 2016 Rio Games.

Some universities and colleges though have weightlifting clubs and organizations but are not offered varsity status.

The UAAP though had boxing in its calendar back in its early days. Back then, Far Eastern University dominated the competition with one of its products in Anthony Villanueva winning silver in the 1964 Tokyo Games.

According to an urban legend, the UAAP had to stop organizing boxing leagues after one student-athlete went into coma after being knocked out. There is no documentation verifying this.

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FEU still had a boxing club up until the late 80s which was handled by the legendary Celestino “Aling” Enriquez.

For the three boxers, adding boxing to collegiate sports will not only create more pugs but also give more opportunities for them to gain scholarships. Petecio, Paalam, and Marcial are products of University of Baguio which offered athletic scholarships for boxers.

“Sa akin sana mpasok yung boxing sa NCAA kasama na rin po women’s para ma-inspire din ‘yung ibang atleta na boksingero na mag-aral,” said Marcial.

“’Yung iba kasi tulad ko, gusto ko mag-aral ng college hindi po ako makapag-aral kasi nag-fofocus ako sa boxing. Kung meron na sa school na boxing, may tournament kayo, nasasabay pa ‘yung aral tsaka boxing, mas makaka-produce tayo ng magagaling na boksingero. Nakikilala yung mga boksingero natin and ayun sana po.”

“Ineencourage ko lalo na ‘yung mga paaralan para din po makilala po. Katulad ng sabi ni Kuya Marcial. Marami rin pong boxer na nag-aaral din po, sana makapasok sa mga ganyan para makilala po. Hindi kami naeexpose po e, hindi kami nakikilala,” echoed Paalam.

“Halos pili lang po kasi ‘yung mga schools at universities na nagbibigay ng scholarship sa boxing. Sana po i-open din nila, ‘yung iba rin pong universities, mag-open din po sila. Sana,” expressed Petecio.

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