Sabaldan: Barriga all the way in the eyes, prayers of millions of Filipinos-A A +A
Sunday, July 29, 2012
IT TOOK him almost a decade to reach what most athletes would consider as the pinnacle of success even by just representing their country in the parade of nations at the hallowed ground of the Olympic stadium.
Mark Anthony Barriga started a 9-year stint in boxing going to the 2012 London Olympics as a skinny child beneficiary of the congressional sports and educational program of then Panabo Representative Antonio R. Floirendo, Jr. RP's Barriga today is the smallest in the class of 32 champion boxers fighting for Olympic glory.
The 19-year-old Barriga (Born June 11, 1993) had initially made good impressions from talent scouts and boxing coaches in a series of national championships which had showcased Panabo’s focal point in youth and sports development with focus on boxing.
Barriga turns out to be that one big potential coming out from the boxing camp of Tony Boy Floirendo to the national boxing team.
Not too long ago, he made it to the top of the Olympic qualifier of the 2011 World Championships in Azerbaijan with another cap in his feather as gold medalist in the most recent 2012 Sydney Jackson Memorial in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
The Philippine Olympic team includes 1 woman and 1 man swimming, 1 woman long jump, 1 man judo, 1 man skeet shooting, 1 man Athletics, 1 man BMX Cycling and 1 woman weightlifting. Another medal hopeful is 21-year old Hidilyn Diaz from Zamboanga City in the 58-Kilogram Weightlifting. Diaz was our country's flag bearer in the elaborate opening ceremony over the weekend.
A day or two from now we will know if Mark Anthony Barriga does have the potentials to give the Philippines a medal in the Olympics by hurdling his first assignment in the Group of 32 nations of the elimination round.
To reach to the quarterfinal bronze, the Panabo City-born boxer will have to outmaneuver another fighter in the Group of 16 before making it to the 4-nation semi-finals and the ultimate one-on-one finals of the 49-kilogram, light-flyweight division currently on stage at the 2012 London Olympics.
Now treading the path of the Olympic champions, even Barriga’s recent feat as the lone Filipino boxer to qualify for the quadrennial event has honored the Davao Region in such a very distinctive position achieved by one of its young people and boxing being one of the most treasured sports disciplines in the country in the tradition of Manny Pacquiao, Nonito Donaire and the rest of our international boxing heroes.
But remember, you have not reach that regal position of “celebrating the 38th Olympiad of the modern era” within the British isles just to brush elbows with Daniel Craig or be there just to visit the Queen. The honor as an Olympian, in the words of the International Olympic Committee is determined not by how you win but by how you compete.
You may be the one and only Filipino boxer among 10,000 athletes from more than 200 countries of five continents but the eyes and prayers of millions of Filipinos will be with you all the way from the first round to where the excellence of your training and physical prowess might bring further honor for you, your family and the Filipino people.
National Beat: Ang dating imposible, ngayon ay posible na. - President Benigno S. Aquino III
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 30, 2012.