FOR the first time, aspiring boxers can now qualify straight to the 2024 Paris Olympics via the Asian Games.
And the Filipino pugs are expected to pounce on that rare opportunity.
“It’s like hitting two birds with one stone,” said Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines executive director and secretary-general Marcus Manalo during yesterday’s online Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.
“We get to prepare for the Asian Games and qualify to the Olympics,” he added referring to the 19th edition of the quadrennial event slated Sept. 23 to Oct. 8 in Hangzhou, China.
It used to be that the pathways for the Olympics for boxers are the continental championships or specific qualifying meets, and never the Asiad.
But the International Olympic Committee made the drastic change recently and allowed the Asian games to be part of the qualification process.
While there is now information yet on how many Paris slots will be made available, Mr. Manalo said they would send in the country’s best team that may include Tokyo Olympics silver winners Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam and bronze medalist Eumir Marcial.
To make it happen, national team coach Don Abnett said they have started preparations early in Baguio City.
In fact, the national team is set to leave on Oct. 14 for a training camp in Amman, Jordan where it is also expected to plunge into action in the Asian Championships slated Oct. 20 to Nov. 13.
Apart from Hangzhou, the country is also preparing for the Phnom Penh Southeast Asian Games set May 5 to 16.
“The SEA Games will also serve as a buildup for the Asian Games,” said Mr. Abnett. — Joey Villar