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    Barriga off to London for pre-Games camp

    Jul 4, 2012
    Mark Anthony Barriga is seen as the country's brightest hope for a medal in London. Jerome Ascano

    BOXER Mark Anthony Barriga leaves on Thursday for London to join six other Filipino Olympians in the training camp serving as the final stage of his buildup for the 2012 London Games.

    “We try to give him as much breathing space and private moments he badly needs amidst the hoopla. He’s focused but relaxed,” Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines executive director Ed Picson said on Wednesday.

    “His training has been on track and his attitude excellent,” said Picson of Barriga, who is taking off at 8 p.m. for Hong Kong before boarding another plane for a 16-hour journey to the British capital.

    The 19-year-old Barriga will be accompanied by coach Roel Velasco, winner of a bronze medal in the light-flyweight division in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

    Barriga, seen by many including Philippine Olympic chief of mission Manny Lopez as a strong medal prospect , is the seventh and last Filipino athlete to avail of the free two-week camp before the the Olympics set July 27 to August 12.

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    The others now training in London are swimmers Jasmine Alkhaldi and Jessie Khing Lacuna, skeet shooter Brian Rosario, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, long jumper Marestella Torres and long distance runner Rene Herrera.

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    “Mark will be one of the medal contenders in his division. He has gone through a long buildup. I believe he can deliver,” said Lopez .

    Picson begged off from making any prediction right now, except saying the boxer is “as ready as can be.”

    The four other members of the Philippine team supported by ICTSI, Bank of Philippine Islands, Mizuno, Samsonite, Procter & Gamble, Petron, Smart Sports, Philracom and TV5 are leaving on July 19 along with their coaches and one Philippine Olympic Committee official.

    They are judoka Tomohiko Hoshina, archers Mark Javier and Rachel Anne Cabral and BMX rider Danny Caluag.

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    Mark Anthony Barriga is seen as the country's brightest hope for a medal in London. Jerome Ascano
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