If the Philippines cannot capture the country’s elusive first Olympic gold medal through men, then the Filipinos might as well harness its vast women power in the 2016 Olympics.
Philippine boxing, determined to follow its dream of producing Olympic gold in boxing is seeking to recruit quantity and quality ladies for its stable of trainees.
”We envy volleyball and basketball, they attract a lot of tall and beautiful collegiate girls whenever there is a competition. Those sports were not that popular for a long time but nowadays; the crowd seems to grow bigger each tournament. Beach volleyball is sexy with the combatants wearing skimpy outfit—a pair of bikinis which never fail to pull attention,” said national coach Patricio Gaspi.
”I wish we have plenty of applicants in women’s boxing. We have been going to the Palaro and Batang Pinoy and Philippine National Games to catch some. However, we got none from the cities or metropolis. I guess its easier to aim for a beauty queen crown than suffer some welts or bruises, especially in an actual tourney that maybe brutal in local or international setting.”
Besides, some parents do not want their girls separated from them until they are out of college. “They can’t bear the idea of seeing their female offspring engaging in a man’s sport and getting hurt in the process,” said Gaspi.
“I hope parents will consider the reality that anyone can get hurt in any sport or physical fitness training, anytime, anywhere despite all precautions.”
Gaspi and fellow coach Roel Velasco, 1992 lightfly Barcelona Olympics bronze medalist, who does not mind if his daughters become boxers when they grow up, said it is possible that we can have a potential lady boxing Olympic gold medalist if they can find the right candidates and nurture them now with proper training, right attitude, proper nutrition and up-to-date techniques through proper exposure abroad.
With full blessings and support from business tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan, those who make it to the pool and later the elite category are bound to receive scholarship, an allowance from the Philippine Sports Commission and opportunity to test their mettle against girls of their age and ability in overseas jousts.
Gaspi said that there are three categories in women’s boxing where Filipinas could excel: these are the 51-kilogram or flyweight, 60 kilogram or lightweight and the 69 to 75 kilogram.
At present, the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines has three reliable medal catchers—Nesty Petecio who recently came home with the gold in China, silver medalist Josie Cabuco and veteran Kate Aparri.
Ladies who are willing to wear headgear, breast protector, boxing mitts or glove and spar with the boys just as the way the trio of Petecio, Cabuco and Aparri are doing should see the ABAP office or gym at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex and ask for Gaspi or Velasco who will give them pointers on what to do.
Who knows, one of the newcomers will finally break the country’s gold medal jinx and open the gateway for the rest of Philippine sports to perform much better than ever in their quest for the country’s pride and honor.
The Philippines has been competing in the Olympics since 1924—its highest treasure are two silver medals from boxing, courtesy of Anthony Villanueva in the 1960 Tokyo Olympics and Mansueto Velasco in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.