PH boxer sees silver lining

Filipino fighter Irish Magno is disappointed that she has to wait for a while before her dream of finally throwing a punch in ithe Olympic Games becomes a reality.

But Magno is not sulking in a corner and  showing her frustration. In fact, she sees a silver lining in the postponement of the Tokyo Summer Games.

"Nakakalungkot pero okay lang po kasi mas mahabang preparation po ang nakuha namin dahil sa postponment," Magno told ABS CBN News a few days ago.

Magno is one of four Filipino athletes who have qualified for the Olympics, the others being fellow boxer Eumir Marcial, world gymnastics champion Carlos Yulo and pole vaulter EJ Obiena. More are expected to join them, like weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz and skateboarder Margielyn Didal.

However, their Olympic stints will have to wait for one more year following the postponement of the Games originally scheduled to kick off on Julky 24.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced on Tuesday that the Games are being rescheduled for 2021, as the world deals with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Sobrang nakakalungkot po talaga, Kasi 'yun nga po, pinaghahandaan ng buong team, especially 'yung mga na-qualified na po," she said.

"At priority po talaga sa ngayon at mas importante 'yung safety and health ng every athlete," she added. "So naiintindihan ko naman po."

Magno, along with the rest of the Philippine boxing team, remain quarantined after competing in the qualifiers in Amman, Jordan earlier this month.

Magno outpointed Tajikistan's Sumaiya Qosimova in the box-off to secure her ticket to Tokyo.

Since their return, however, Magno and the rest of the Philippine boxing team have not been able to train adequately as they are quarantined.

"Ngayon, mahirap po mag-training since naka-home quaratine po ang lahat. We just wait na lang po na maging okay ang lahat, para makapag-training din po kami ng maayos," she said.

"Self-training lang po muna, then wait po ang sasabihin ng mga coaches after ng quarantine."

There is another reason that Magno is fine with the postponement of the Olympics.

The final boxing qualifiers set for Paris in May had been suspended due to the pandemic, putting the dreams of Carlo Paalam and Nesthy Petecio in limbo. With the rescheduling of the Games, more Filipino boxers have a chance to earn their berths.

"Sana po talaga, mabigyan din sila ng opportunity to qualify," said Magno. "Mas maganda po, mas marami po kami to represent our country sa Tokyo Olympics."