ASSOCIATION of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines (ABAP) president Ricky Vargas says the outbreak of the coronavirus has hampered the Philippine boxing team’s preparations for the Tokyo Olympics.
“Nalulungkot lang ako sa nangyayari kasi ang ganda na ng momentum, tapos ganito ang mangyayari,” said Vargas in a radio interview.
The former POC president made the statement just as two Filipino boxers in Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno clinched a berth to the Tokyo Games with a triumphant campaign in the Asia Ocenia Boxing Qualification Tournament in Amman, Jordan last week.
The ABAP is looking to send more entries to the Olympics led by world champion Nesthy Petecio through the World Boxing Qualification Tournament in Paris this May.
But amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Paris meet has been shelved along with the other continental qualifiers.
So far, no word has been sent about the Tokyo Olympics not pushing through.
Vargas said ABAP already has a concrete plan laid out on the road to Tokyo in a bid to finally give the country a long-cherished Olympic gold.
“Mag-e-ensayo sila overseas just like what they did nung nag-ensayo sila sa Thailand (for the Asia-Oceania qualifiers),” said the ABAP prexy.
ABAP secretary-general Ed Picson disclosed that originally the boxing team is eyeing to participate in a tournament in April in Spain, then proceed for a training camp in Paris all the way to the world qualifiers.
But all of these had been put off especially with Europe now considered as the center of the coronavirus.
“Hindi na puwede lahat yung plano nay un kasi tigil lahat ng activities,” said Picson. “Lahat tayo naka-tengga. Hindi natin alam ang mangyayari mamaya, bukas, o sa isang lingo. Everything is on hold.”
Still, Vargas said the health and safety of the boxers remain first and foremost in ABAP’s priorities.
“Alagaan nila yung katawan nila, yung health nila. Pag inaalagaan nila yan, inaalagaan din nila yung pamilya nila, mga kaibigan, at mga mahal nila sa buhay,” said Vargas.
He also reminded all members of the boxing team to remain vigilant and just stay home and observe the enhanced community quarantine imposed by the government.