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PSC urges boxers to qualify soonest

Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Richie Garcia urged the top bets of the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (ABAP) not to look past this week’s Olympic qualifier in China.

Garcia believes the six-man boxing team must make sure they get their tickets to Rio in the upcoming Asia/Oceania Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Qian’an, China and not think of the possibility of booking another shot via two other events in May and June should they fail in China.

“The pressure will build up in the last qualifying (in June in Azerbaijan) and it would be ideal that by that time, you are already training (for the Olympics) and still not trying to qualify,” said Garcia.

Representing the Philippines in China are lightfly Rogen Ladon, flyweight Roldan Boncales, bantamweight Mario Fernandez, lightweight Charly Suarez and welterweight Eumir Felix Marcial in the men’s side, and flyweight Nesthy Petecio in the women’s category.

Garcia also made a similar call to other sports and strongly specified his desire to see athletes aim for an Olympic spot through qualifying events and not rely on being given token participation.

“Mas maganda yung legitimate qualifiers and not those who will make it there via the universality (selection process),” said Garcia, noting that athletics and swimming will likely field two entries each if these NSAs fail to earn berths via the usual process.

Garcia assures all Olympic qualifiers will get the needed support from the PSC specifically those who will make the grade early.

“The PSC will not hesitate to send them to Rio at least a week or ten days before their event to allow them to get used to the local conditions because the travel alone is very tiring,” said Garcia. “If you qualify early, you get the luxury of scouting your opponent especially in boxing and you have time to phase your training.”

Only one Filipino athlete has qualified in Fil-Am hurdler Eric Cray and Garcia could not help but lament the lack of qualified bets with less than five months remaining before Brazil welcomes the world’s best athletes.