Quijano: It’s on you, Mark-A A +A
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
IF SPORTS is life with the volume turned way up, then the Olympics is the mother of all concerts.
And for this one-of-a-kind extravaganza, we have submitted our leanest contingent of 11 athletes since 1932, but don’t let that number delude you.
It’s never about quantity, but quality.
In 1932, we paraded only eight athletes and 3 of them came home with medals.
And that is why my heart skipped a beat when power-lifter Hidilyn Diaz tried to clear the 118 kgs. she needed in the clean and jerk category.
She nearly made it, but failed. Had she succeeded, it would have catapulted her to the top of her bracket and allowed her to advance. Sigh, that elusive Olympic gold remains to be a dream…for now.
LONDON. By the time you read this, you will have learned whether or not our lone entry in boxing, Mark Anthony Barriga, has passed his first round test against Italian Manuel Cappai.
We haven’t won an Olympic medal in 16 years, and the last four medals were won by boxers, Leopoldo Serrantes in 1988 with a bronze, Anthony Villanueva with a silver in 1964, Roel Velasco with a bronze in 1992 and Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco with a silver in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Another stark reminder of how disastrous things can turn out in Olympic games is that our lone entry to Beijing 4 years ago, Harry Tanamor lost in the very first round.
All of the foregoing undoubtedly adds more pressure on the diminutive shoulders of Mark Anthony Barriga who competes in the light flyweight division and is only 19 years old.
But an added trivia that may inspire Barriga is the fact that Velasco, Serrantes and Roel Velasco all competed in the same weight division and so maybe light flyweight is a lucky division for us Pinoys!
Also, Procter and Gamble has reportedly sponsored the plane tickets of Barriga’s parents so they can be at ringside at the ExCel to watch their son compete with the
best amateur pugs in the world.
That’s a wonderful gesture. Having visited London just a few months ago and witnessed the championships at the World Series of Boxing at the very same venue, I can visualize how intimidating it can be for a young athlete at that swanky, cavernous setting, the atmosphere buzzing with excitement and brimming with energy.
It will take five arduous wins to bring home that glittering gold. Maybe, having papa and mama at ringside all the way from Panabo, Davao del Norte will make all the difference.
Good luck Mark!
LOCAL EVENTS. A welcome development is the entry of more promotional groups supporting local boxing and the utilization of new venues.
Last Sunday, Naris Promotions did a swell job of showcasing the Virgilio Silvano-Charlie Cabilla fight for the Philippine Boxing Federation (PBF) light flyweight title.
Silvano won via 4th round TKO at the J Center convention hall at the Fight Fury 1 card. Let’s hope more events are held there and more quality fight cards delivered by promoters.
50 CENT. Promoting and putting up successful boxing events is no joke and that is probably why Oscar dela Hoya took a dig at rapper 50 cent who is reportedly formally throwing in his 50 cents at the promotional arena, which inveigled a nasty Twitter rebuke from the piquant rapper.
However, TMT Promotions has reportedly signed up Floyd Mayweather, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Andre Dirrel and Andre Berto. Looks like there’s a new major player in the industry that will give Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions some much-needed competition.
VERBATIM. “In Baguio, Mark used to go to the Shape-Up Gym to watch Manny (Pacquiao) train and picked up a few things from Manny like grunting whenever he throws a punch. He’s confident. He’s not nervous.” –Abap executive director Ed Picson
LAST ROUNDS. Are on on Romy and Em-em Hapin. Cheers and Bon voyage!
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 01, 2012.