‘We are so proud of Mark’-A A +A
Sunday, August 5, 2012
MARK Anrhony Barriga's Olympic dream in London may have come to an abrupt end, but his town mates in Panabo City are showering him with admiration and love.
The little man with a big fighting heart will forever be their champion.
"We at the Davao del Norte boxing team are so proud of Mark," said Generose Tecson, manager of Barangay Una boxing team of Davao del Norte. "In our hearts and minds he is a winner which no one can take away from us."
Tecson issued the statements to Sun.Star Davao the morning after Barriga lost his second round match to Birshan Zhakypov of Kazakhstan in a very controversial fashion in the London Olympics.
The five-foot-two Barriga was leading after two rounds against his Kazakh rival at 10-8, but lost steam in the final round and got victimized by the referee's highly questionable warning for head-butting.
Because of the warning, Barriga's opponent got an additional two points that all but sealed the doom for the Filipino boxer.
Philippine officials filed a protest immediately after the fight hoping to get a favorable decision, but the amateur boxing's governing body rejected the appeal without even reviewing the bout.
And so it was a painful defeat not only for Barriga, but also to the entire country which had pinned its hopes on the young boxer to at least end the medal drought that dates back to the 2000 Games in Sydney.
The last time the Philippines won a medal in the world's greatest sporting spectacle was when Mansueto "Onyok" Velaso captured the silver in the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Barriga will be returning home disappointed but richer in experience. His first round win over Manuel Cappai of Italy in his Olympic debut provided excitement to millions of his countrymen.
When Barriga returns home to Panabo after his London stint, his town mates will definitely let out a warm welcome to one of their favorite sons.
"He lives in our dream of being able to produce an Olympian, which we did in less than 10 years. This is the lessons Sir Tonyboy is trying to impart not only for sports leaders but political leaders as well. That you need to focus on the grassroots in order to progress and develop," said Tecson, referring to the highly-successful boxing program of former congressman Antonio "Tonyboy" Floirendo.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 06, 2012.