With its chances of capturing an Olympic gold medal heightened, the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines must be doing something right.
From just one Olympic qualifier in the 2012 London and two in 2016 Rio De Janeiro, the national boxing team will be able to bring in four to the forthcoming Tokyo Summer Games.
“We cannot lower our projections, we are aiming no less than the top plum,’’ said Abap secretary general Ed Picson during the Philippine Sportswriters Association forum on Tuesday.
Boxers Irish Magno and Eumir Marcial qualified for Tokyo via the Asia Oceania Boxing Olympic Qualification Tournament in Amman, Jordan last year while Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam grabbed Olympic spots by virtue of their rankings in Asia.
“With four qualifiers, we are going for optimal performance in the Olympics,’’ said Picson in the forum backed by Smart/PLDT, Go For Gold, Pagcor, Braska, Amelie Hotel, Milo and San Miguel Corporation.
Picson, however, agrees that seizing the country’s first gold medal in the Olympics requires not only a chivalrous effort from the boxers themselves. He said it would be a unified effort with the coaching, administrative and support staff.
“Everybody is pulling together for our boxers to be in their optimal condition when they go to the Olympics. We are aiming for the gold. There should be no letup, they understand the urgency of the situation and everybody is going in the same direction,’’ said Picson.
Aside from the regular coaches, the Abap has formed a team that will surround the four Olympians in their journey composed of a strength and conditioning expert, nutritionist and psychologist.
“It’s a team effort. The coaches will prepare them physically, strategically and tactically, while the rest is up to the boxers,’’ said Picson. “We’re going to take advantage of the best preparation available despite the unfortunate situation.’’
He pointed out that the coaches have been scouting all the possible opponents of each boxer and mapping out a battle plan for the Filipinos to succeed.
“Our coaching staff has been studying the other boxers in their weight categories and they are developing strategies to counter them. The coaches know these opponents and have seen these boxers personally,’’ said Picson.
Currently training with the Thai national boxing squad, the Filipino boxers will break camp in Thailand a week before the Asian championships in New Delhi, India scheduled to begin May 21.
From the Asian champs, the final stretch of their training will all depend on the COVID-19 situation with Picson dangling a possible scenario that the Olympians might not go back to the Philippines and proceed straight to Tokyo for the July 23-Aug. 3 quadrennial global Games.
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