COMPETING in the Olympics is the ultimate experience for every athlete.
Davao del Norte boxer Charly Suarez bared this in a Facebook Messenger interview with SunStar Davao recently.
He underwent a series of qualifying tournaments just to win a slot in the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil.
It can be recalled that Suarez, born in Sawata, secured his first Olympic berth by eking out a technical knockout (TKO) victory over Chinese Jun Shan in their AIBA Asian/Oceanian Olympic Qualifying Event lightweight semifinals clash at the Tangshan Sports Centre in Qian'an, Hebei Province in China in March 2016.
“Tanan nga paningkamot, kagool, kahago mawala tungod kay naka Olympics nako (all the hard work, anguish and weariness were worth it since I made it to the Olympics),” said the product of Barangay Una Boxing Team of Panabo under former Congressman Tonyboy Floirendo.
The 31-year-old Southeast Asian (SEA) Games triple gold medalist and Incheon Asian Games silver medalist shared that the first agenda of his pre-Olympic qualifying preparations was “to pray” then to “set the goal na mag Olympics through training and discipline.”
Entering the Olympics Athletes’ Village, he reminisced, was overwhelming. “Ang experience sa Village enjoy kaayo nga makatungtong sa Olympics, bonus nalang ang medal (The Village experience in the Olympics was really fun, winning. medal is just a bonus),” he said.
During the competition proper, he remembered having a mixed feeling of joy, nervousness and pride.
His most memorable experience, however, was being among the seven torchbearers representing the seven continents joining in the Olympics.
He said, “Sa Asia ako ang napili (I was chosen to represent Asia).”
During the closing ceremonies, a sense of relief dawned on him that at last, the Games were over. But what will be forever etched in his memory was the fact that he competed in the Olympics along with the best and brightest star athletes in the world.
Suarez was a gold medalist in the first MVP Cup 2010 and also in the Blue and Gold Tournament in the USA. He annexed silvers in the Asian Oceania 2012 Astana Kazakhstan Qualifying for Olympics, Asia Oceania 2016 Qualifying for Olympics in China, Tammer Cup Finland 2010 and Balado Cup Cub 2019.
Meanwhile, the Philippines currently has so far four Tokyo Olympics qualifiers - Ernest Obiena in men's pole vault, Carlos Yulo in artistic gymnastics, Eumir Marcial for men's middleweight in boxing and Irish Magno for women's flyweight in boxing.
The Philippine Sports Commission and Philippine Olympic Committee are jointly pushing for the resumption of the athletes’ training for different Tokyo Olympics qualifying tournaments and resumption of training for the four qualifiers.