MANILA - Filipina boxer Irish Magno is keeping track of her potential opponents in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, even as she tries to catch up to them in terms of fitness and skills.
Magno, 29, is currently at the Inspire Sports Facility in Calamba, Laguna where she and other national team boxers are training. They entered the bubble in January, with Magno preparing for the Olympics while other members of the team gear up for the qualifiers.
"Alam naman po nila (coach) kung ano po 'yung mga dapat kong i-improve," said Magno in an interview on the PSC Hour, as she assessed herself with just a few months left before the Summer Games in Tokyo.
"Alam ko rin po sa sarili ko kung ano po 'yung mga kulang ko. So sinasabi ko po 'yun kila coach at ginagawan po nila coach ng paraan kung paano ko po gawin 'yun at ganoon din po 'yung maging focus ko po," she added.
Magno qualified through an Olympic boxoff against Sumaiya Qosimova of Tajikistan in the Asia-Oceania qualifiers in March 2020.
While she is focusing on sharpening her skills and increasing the level of her conditioning, Magno is also taking the time to scout her potential foes in the Olympics.
"Libre naman po 'yung wi-fi dito, anytime po pwede kami mag-scout sa kanila. So 'yun po ang ginagawa ko. Tiningnan ko po kung sino na 'yung na-qualify na po sa Olympics," she said.
"Kasi hindi mo po masasabi na 'yan lang ang makakaharap mo, so marami 'yan eh, hindi po natin expect kung sino ang makakaharap ko. So lahat po 'yan. Pero ngayon, hindi ko pa po talaga natingnan. Iniisa ko pong tingnan para may idea po ako," she added.
In particular, Magno is studying China's Chang Yuan and Japan's Tsukimi Namiki, both of whom have also clinched their spots in the Games. Yuan, the 2018 Asian Games gold medalist, had won the qualifiers last year with a slim 3-2 win over Namiki in the 51kg division finals.
"'Yung China po, dati natalo niya na po ako, so gusto ko po talagang pag-aralan 'yung galaw niya," Magno explained.
"Andiyan din po 'yun Japan po. Alam natin mabilis po siya ma'am. So ako po hindi ako mabilis, so parang 'yun po, lahat ng bilis, proper na suntok 'yun po ang dine-develop ko para makasabay po ako sa kanila," she added.
But there are plenty of other opponents for Magno to study, including India's Mary Kom who defeated her in the quarterfinals of the qualifiers. Other contenders have yet to qualify as well as several events were rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the uncertainty surrounding the Games has admittedly affected Magno, she says she is doing her best to remain focused on the task at hand.
"Noong una, nababahala po ako kasi … paano na lang 'pag 'di matuloy (ang Olympics)?" she said. "Parang nada-down po ako sa sarili ko."
"Pero hindi ko po 'yun iniisip a ganoon talaga. Nagpo-focus na lang po ako kasi sabi ko, balita pa lang naman 'yan, wala pang kasiguraduhan," she added. "So ako, continue lang ako sa training, continue lang sa sinasabi nila coach and mag-focus po sa kung ano ang main goal namin."