Mendoza: Yulo, Obiena to Tokyo but n’yet for Petecio

All write

GET this: Only Carlos Yulo has earned an Olympic slot thus far. OK, include EJ Obiena, but n’yet for Nesthy Petecio.

Yulo, 19, made it to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics for topping the floor exercise in the 41st FIG Artistic Gymnastics last week in Stuttgart, Germany, making him also the first Filipino to become a world champ in the sport.

And Obiena? He was actually the first Filipino Tokyo qualifier after the 23-year-old cleared 5.81 meters for the pole vault gold last month in Chiara, Italy.

But why is boxer Petecio not in the Olympic mix when she also won the featherweight gold in the Women’s Worlds on the heels of Yulo’s astonishing feat?

That’s because the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had earlier withdrawn its recognition of Aiba, the world amateur boxing body that hosted Petecio’s event in Ulan-Ude, Russia.

Sore and fed up with Aiba’s leadership squabbles fueled by persistent cheating charges on its own tournaments rigged likewise consistently by alleged payoffs, the IOC disenfranchised Aiba and assumed control of boxing competitions in the 2020 Games.

That left Petecio, 27, and our other boxers scrambling for precious Tokyo slots in the IOC-sanctioned Olympic qualifiers in China in February and in France in May.

But already, for her golden effort, Petecio has earned at least P2 million like Yulo as incentives from the Philippine Sports Commission and the MVP Foundation. I believe Obiena had been amply rewarded as well?

And Hidilyn Diaz, our lone medalist (silver) in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, has to also hurdle qualifying standards in the World Cup in Rome in January and in the Asian Championship in Kazakhstan in April to make it to Tokyo.

Diaz, 28, recently won world bronze medals but fell victim to new weightlifting rules on rankings as an offshoot to recurring doping issues plaguing the sport worldwide.

But like Petecio, Diaz should also clinch a Tokyo ticket—easily, if only because the Filipino athlete is toughest when challenged. Lunch to enliven the atmosphere?


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