Sunday, August 05, 2012

Fair Play: Four Olympics, 0 medals for boxing

IT IS so (please insert expletive of choice) frustrating!

Just one medal, just one lousy gold medal and it seems it’s forever out of our reach.

The latest to fall flat—figuratively and literally—was Mark Anthony Barriga, who was wrestled and got penalized twice in the third round in his one-point loss to Kazakstan’s Birzhan Zhakypov.

The team filed a protest, saying Barriga should have been warned first before getting penalized. But Aiba turned down the protest because because giving "warnings without caution is groundless" and the appeal is "too subjective to review."

Too subjective for review?  And to borrow Mike Enriquez’s famous line, ‘Excuse me po!”

There’s no use crying about the loss because Aiba has decided that we did lose that game.  And I’m telling you, it’s not just Barriga, it’s “US.” WE lost that game.

Of course, predictably, there will be calls for a “return to the drawing” board, while some parrot of a politician will ask for the heads of our sports heads for failing to do their job.

Man, this is so frustrating—we’ve now won zero boxing medals since we got so close to the gold medal in Atlanta 1996.  And for this to happen after MVP stepped in after the Beijing debacle, bankrolling Abap’s boxing program with millions just so we can quench our thirst for an Olympic gold.

Back to the drawing board for the nth time?

Or should we throw the room along with the drawing board and try Door No. 2?

What’s behind it? I don’t know.

But, I hope it’s better than Door No. 1 that got us nowhere.

Someone out there has the skills, someone out there has the solution. 

This debacle I think is particularly hard on Abap, after failing to win a medal for the third straight Olympiad in Beijing, with then world championship silver medalist Harry Tanamor losing in the first round, they had a nationwide search of talent for the next Olympian.  They also tried to convince the top amateurs not to turn pro yet, enticing them with hefty monthly allowances.  Still, they lost some to the pros, like Dodie Penalosa Jr.

What Abap will do is anybody's guess.  Will they still have Manny Pangilinan as benefactor?  

I was a college freshman when Onyok velasco got robbed of the gold and by the time the next Olympics come, the college freshmen would have been born after Onyok's loss.

This dry spell sadly, isn't new in Philipping Olympic history.  Afte Miguel White won a bronze medal in the 400m low hurdles in Berlin in 1936,our next medal came in 1964, when Anthony Villanueva lost in the featherweight finals to USSR's Stanislav Stephaskin in what those who saw it say was also a robbery.

Villanueva's father, curiously, also won the bronze medal in Los Angeles 1932 as a bantamweight.

After Villanueva, it was another 24-year wait before Leopoldo Serrantes got a bronze medal as a light flyweight in Seoul.  And, four years later, Roel Velasco won the same medal in the same division in Barcelona.

It’s not that we suck at sports, we’ve had world champions and we are world class in some sports, but not just in Olympic sports.  We've got world champions in bowling and when it was a demonstration sport in Seoul 1988, Arianne Cerdena won the women's gold medal.  How come bowling isn't in the Olympics?

Aside from strengthening our programs, should the Philippines lead a move to have bowling and billiards--two sports where we excel--be included in the Olympics?  Both are already in the Asiad level and, because both are played worldwide and has a strong world championships field--a requirement for inclusion in the games--they have a strong case to make it.

But will they make it?

Or should we just do what we always do, wait for that first Olympic gold medal?

By the way, in London we still have three athletes playing-- Marestella Torres and Rene Herrera in athletics and Daniel Caluag in BMX and it's Caluag who has the best chance of the three. Can he  salvage our campaign?


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