By WAYLON GALVEZ
Even before the boxing national team left for Thailand for a training camp, three of four Tokyo Olympics-bound athletes were told that chances are they can’t go home until after the Games in Japan.
Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam left early March for Bangkok along with other members of the boxing team – all facing the possibility of staying away from their respective families due to COVID-19 restrictions and protocols.
“We already gave them a possible scenario where in hindi na sila babalik ng Pilipjnas,” said Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) Secretary-General Ed Picson during the online Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum Tuesday. “Kasi pag bumalik sila ng Pilipinas, number one, mag-quarantine ka na naman which sets you back.”
Picson said that if the situation in the country improves there is a possibility for them to return and spend time with family before the Tokyo Olympics.
If not, he said the boxers and coaches understand the situation.
“If the situation persists, then they might have to stay outside of the country until the Olympics. So whether it be Thailand, India or some places else, unless the situation improves, then most likely sa labas na muna sila,” said Picson.
Aside from Paalam, Petecio and Magno, Eumir Marcial will also see action in the Tokyo Olympics on July 23 to Aug. 8. Marcial is now a professional boxer and is now training with Hall of Famer Freddie Roach at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles, California.
Picson said that ABAP and the management of Marcial, who signed with the MP Promotions of Manny Pacquiao, are still trying to find ways for the boxer to join the national team in Thailand.
Aside from Thailand, the national team is also eyeing a possible training camp in India before the ASBC meet on May 21-30 in New Delhi.
“The training in Thailand will be an Olympics style training and not a professional style. So, it might be better for Eumir to join the rest of the team in Thailand,” said Picson.
Aside from the three Tokyo-bound boxers, seven other members of the boxing national team and five coaches led by Nolito “Boy” Velasco are in Thailand as part of the preparations for the Hanoi Southeast Asian Games in November.
“We have other boxers there (Thailand) helping our Olympians train, and at the same time raise their level heading to the SEA Games,” said Picson.