RP has no invitation yet to Olympic boxing qualifier in Thailand
01/08/2008 | 10:15 PM
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The Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (ABAP) has not received an invitation to join the Olympic qualifying tournament in Bangkok, Thailand.
This was bared Tuesday by ABAP president Manny Lopez who said that with or without invitation, six Filipino boxers will fly to Thailand in the hope of qualifying for the Beijing Olympics in August.
Lopez said that the Olympic qualifying event is set for January 24 to February 3 and offers Olympic slots to the gold and silver medalists in all 12 divisions.
"They will see our faces in Bangkok," Lopez said at the first 2008 session of the weekly Philippine Sports Association (PSA) Forum at Shakey's UN Avenue in Manila where he raised a dozen points that led to their controversial protest of the recent Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Thailand.
"Up to now, even if the deadline for the submission of the entries to the Olympic qualifying tournament lapsed last December 20, we have yet to receive an invitation from Thailand," Lopez said.
"But we will go there. We will bring in six boxers. If they don't let us in, there will be a bigger issue of discrimination which is against the Olympic charter," added the ABAP president in the session sponsored by Shakey's and PAGCOR.
Leading the short lineup, which will be finalized this week, are flyweight Violito Payla and bantamweight Joan Tipon. So far, only lightfly Harry Tañamor is assured of a slot to the Beijing Games.
After Thailand, the final Olympic qualifying tournament for Asian boxers will be held in March in Kazakhstan.
Lopez, secretary-general of the Asian Amateur Boxing Federation, defended the act of four Filipino boxers in the recent SEA Games where their surrendered to their Thai foes in the finals without throwing a punch.
Of 13 finalists (seven men and six women), only Annie Albania got a gold medal, by knocking out out her Thai opponent.
"You can expect a lot of fireworks in the coming days," Lopez. "And we are threading on rough waters."
Lopez recently wrote AIBA president Ching Kuo Wu of Taiwan regarding the SEA Games incident.
"He said he will look into it," Lopez said. Otherwise, we can elevate the matter to the International Olympic Committee."
The ABAP chief also cited the malpractices committed by Thai boxing officials during the SEA Games.
He said boxing equipment not approved by AIBA was used, resulting in numerous knockouts and injuries to boxers, and he questioned the fielding of referees who seemed to favor the host country's boxers.
"Where can you find a boxing tournament where a coach has one hand on a wireless telephone and an earphone while tending to his boxer? They were getting updates on the scoring that's why," Lopez said. - GMANews.TV