The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) board has decided to deny the request of the national boxing team to participate in a tournament next month in New Delhi due to the sharp increase of COVID-19 cases in India in recent weeks.
PSC Commission Ramon Fernandez said Friday that the board has already acted on the request in an effort to protect the safety of the delegation.
“We denied that precisely because of the situation in India,” Fernandez said in a phone interview Friday, April 23, with Manila Bulletin. “Just the other day (Thursday), India recorded the world’s highest of 314,835 COVID-19 cases in a single day.”
“For us, they’ve qualified already, why risk their health by going there. Ma-compromise lang yung hirap nila na mag-qualify sa Tokyo Olympics. Baka ma-disgrasya pa sila at mahawa ng virus (It will compromise the hard work they’ve done to qualify in the Tokyo Olympics and get infected with the virus).”
The national teeam, which includes three of the four Tokyo Olympics-bound fighters in Carlo Paalam, Irish Magno and Nesthy Petecio, is currently in Thailand for a training camp.
The plan is for them to proceed to India next month for the ASBC tournament on May 21-30 in New Delhi.
However, the PSC has acted by denying the request since the government sports agency finances the trip of the national team in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics on July 23 to August 8.
Fernandez said that while the PSC rejected the India trip, the board has agreed to extend the training camp of the national team in Thailand for another month, since it is set to end early May.
“We extended their training in Thailand for another month. If there are other international competitions in Europe, they can go there. But not in India with the situation there right now,” said Fernandez.
Meanwhile, in a text message, Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) secretary-general Ed Picson said there is a possibility for the ASBC to push through in another country.
“ASBC is looking for an alternative host city for the tournament, either Dubai or Bahrain. The executive board, of which I am a member, will decide tonight (Friday),” said Picson, adding that they were already informed about the PSC board decision.