Boxing: Magno welcomes one more year to prepare for Olympics

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 26 2020 05:08 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- Filipina boxer Irish Magno sees a silver lining in the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics to 2021.

Magno is one of the four Philippine athletes assured of a ticket to the Tokyo Games, along with fellow boxer Eumir Marcial, pole-vaulter EJ Obiena, and gymnast Carlos Yulo. They have been looking forward to competing in July 2020.

However, their Olympic stints will have to wait for one more year. 

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced on Tuesday that the Games are being rescheduled for 2021, as the world deals with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Sobrang nakakalungkot po talaga," Magno told ABS-CBN News. "Kasi 'yun nga po, pinaghahandaan ng buong team, especially 'yung mga na-qualified na po."

As disappointed as she is, Magno understands the reason for the postponement, and sees a positive side to it as well.

"Okay lang po, kasi mas mahabang preparation po kung sakaling ma-postpone 'yung Tokyo Olympics," said the 28-year-old Magno, who is set to compete in the Games for the first time. 

"At priority po talaga sa ngayon at mas importante 'yung safety and health ng every athlete," she added. "So naiintindihan ko naman po."

Magno, along with the rest of the Philippine boxing team, remain quarantined after competing in the qualifiers in Amman, Jordan earlier this month. 

There, Magno outpointed Tajikistan's Sumaiya Qosimova in the box-off to secure her ticket to Tokyo.

Since their return, however, Magno and the rest of the Philippine boxing team have not been able to train adequately as they are quarantined.

"Ngayon, mahirap po mag-training since naka-home quaratine po ang lahat. We just wait na lang po na maging okay ang lahat, para makapag-training din po kami ng maayos," she said.

"Self-training lang po muna, then wait po ang sasabihin ng mga coaches after ng quarantine."

There is another reason that Magno is fine with the postponement of the Olympics. 

The final boxing qualifiers set for Paris in May had been suspended due to the pandemic, putting the dreams of Carlo Paalam and Nesthy Petecio in limbo. With the rescheduling of the Games, more Filipino boxers have a chance to earn their berths.

"Sana po talaga, mabigyan din sila ng opportunity to qualify," said Magno. "Mas maganda po, mas marami po kami to represent our country sa Tokyo Olympics."

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).