‘Weak’ PH Youth Games team disappoints POC

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A top official of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) said he was disappointed that the Philippine team to the Youth Olympic Games in China in August won’t include a boxing team.

“It’s sad that we don’t have a qualifier in boxing,” said POC first vice-president Joey Romasanta during yesterday’s PSA Forum.

Romasanta said he was surprised that boxing and even taekwondo could not come up with qualifiers to the Aug. 14 to 28 in Nanjing as these sports “don’t have a short supply of athletes.”

“I really don’t know what happened because they (boxing and taekwondo) have more than what they need,” said Romasanta.

Both boxing and taekwondo associations are being supported by Manny V. Pangilinan.

In fact, the Alliances of Boxing Associations of the Philippines (ABAP) even sent a squad to Bulgaria last April for the purpose of sending fighters to Nanjing.

But all four boxers — light-flyweight Daniel Maano, fly Hipolito Banal, bantam Fresco Carpocia and light-welter Sonny Bernabe fared miserably during the tournament which served as the qualifier for the YOG.

ABAP Executive Director Ed Picson was as disappointed as the POC, saying the four-man squad “gave their best” in Sofia.

“That’s boxing and we also got paired with the top bets in the eliminations,” added Picson.

Romasanta lamented that the “International Olympic Committee solidarity was just waiting for them to qualify” so funding can be released for their training for Nanjing.

With boxing and taekwondo out of contention, Romasanta said the country’s medal hopes will be pinned on archery, gymnastics and swimming in case last-minute appeals by shooting and golf for inclusion gets turned down.

Boxing has been a prime source of medals in the Olympics and the Asian Games, while taekwondo has always been a solid contender.

Youth Olympics chief of mission Jonne Go stressed that there will be no token bets in Nanjing as everyone who will make it all the way had to go through tough screening.

Still, Go said it will be hard to gauge how the small delegation will perform but assured everyone that the teen athletes are in the thick of training here and abroad.

By : Nick Giongco, Mb.com.ph

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