ABAP head hopes pandemic-delayed Tokyo Olympics to push through
ABS-CBN Sports on Jun 30, 2020 07:16 PM
(Photo: Richard Esguerra)
The Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (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 over half of Tokyo residents that took part in a recent survey 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 qualified two boxers in Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno to the Tokyo Games, and had 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 by ABAP secretary-general Ed Picson in the forum and presented by San Miguel Corporation, Go For Gold PH, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and powered by Smart.
But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, everything came to a halt, including the rest of the qualifying tournaments.
“We lost steam,” said Vargas.
Picson said the Filipino boxers remain steadfast in their training even if there’s 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.
“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,” he added.
“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,” he added.
The ABAP chief had high hopes that the country could win the elusive gold in the Tokyo Olympics – through boxing.
But the pandemic, somehow, had turned things around.