Even before the boxing national team left for Thailand for a training camp, three of the four Tokyo Olympics-bound athletes were given the scenario of not going home until after the Games in Japan.
Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam left in early March for Bangkok with 12 other members of the boxing team, and because of all the COVID-19 restrictions and protocols, they may spend a bit longer time away from their respective families here in the country.
“We already gave them a possible scenario wherein hindi na sila babalik ng Pilipjnas (they will not return to the Philippines),” said Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) secretary-general Ed Picson during the online Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum Tuesday, April 6, 2021.
“Kasi pag bumalik sila ng Pilipinas (If they comeback to the Philippines), number one, mag-quarantine ka na naman (they’ll go to quarantine), which sets you back.”
Picson said that if the situation in the country improves, and then the number of COVID-19 cases decreases, 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 place else, unless the situation improves, then most likely sa labas na muna sila (they have to stay outside),” 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 in deep 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.