Petecio, Paalam poised to earn Olympic slots

FILE – The Philippines’ Nesthy Petecio, left, punches Myanmar’s Oo Nwe Ni in the women’s featherweight event of the 30th Southeast Asian Games. INQUIRER PHOTO/ Sherwin Vardeleon

MANILA, Philippines — The Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) remains upbeat about the chances of Filipino boxers to qualify for this year’s Tokyo Olympics.

ABAP officials expressed confidence that at least two more hopefuls will book their spots in the pandemic-delayed Summer Games.

On Monday, the International Olympic Committee Boxing Task Force (BTF) has decided to scrap the world qualifiers in Paris this May due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

The cancelation, however, did not deter ABAP’s hopes of sending more bets to Tokyo.

“The ranking will be the basis of the remaining quota places. In which case, we feel Nesthy and Carlo Paalam should get slots,” ABAP secretary-general Ed Picson told Tuesday.

“However, we still need to await official announcement from the BTF,” Picson cleared.

Both Nesthy Petecio, a women’s featherweight world champion, and flyweight Carlo Paalam fell in the quarterfinal round of the 2020 Asia-Oceania Boxing Qualification Tournament last March in Jordan.

The BTF is expected to make the announcement in March.

Middleweight Eumir Marcial and women’s flyweight Irish Magno have already secured Olympic spots.

Apart from qualifying for the Games, Picson said the Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam later this year is another reason for the country’s boxers to continue their training despite the cancelation of the world qualifiers.

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