The national boxing team that includes three Tokyo Olympic-bound fighters is being advised not to proceed to India to compete in the Asian championships that will take place in New Delhi from 21 to 31 May, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) said Thursday.
With India experiencing a major surge in coronavirus cases, sports commissioner Mon Fernandez said it would be advisable that the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) look elsewhere for exposure and competition.
“Since the boxers have already qualified for Tokyo, it would be better that they just skip the India tournament given the high number of cases. The Covid cases in India are peaking,” Fernandez said.
The ABAP was planning to send an 11-member squad as part of its buildup not just for the Tokyo Olympics but the 31st Vietnam Southeast Asian Games as well.
Actually, four boxers have already qualified for Tokyo: Eumir Marcial, Carlo Paalam, Nesthy Petecio and Irish Magno.
Everyone is undergoing training in Thailand except for Marcial, who just arrived in the country after seven months in the United States.
Marcial is currently visiting his ailing father in Zamboanga but had expressed the desire to compete in India.
Presently, the subcontinent has 2.3 million active cases, about 85,000 of them in the capital of New Delhi.
But with the PSC saying that it would be better to skip the Indian slugfest, it could not be determined if Marcial will head back to Los Angeles or join the ABAP team if it succeeds in participating in a tournament elsewhere.
Fernandez said the PSC would support the ABAP if it finds an event that the boxers could go to, adding that if the Indian tournament was a qualifying tournament, perhaps the PSC would have relented.
“But since we have already qualified for Tokyo, it would be risky for them to go there and compete.”