MANILA, Philippines -- Members of the Philippine boxing team might not return home until after the Olympics, as the federation is planning for more training camps abroad.
Currently, the team is in Thailand but the Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines (ABAP) is already lining up another camp in India.
"Even before they left, napag-usapan na namin 'yan," said ABAP secretary-general Ed Picson. "Sinabi namin sa mga coaches and boxers na… the training camp abroad might be extended up to the Olympics."
"In other words, hindi na sila uuwi hanggang sa panahon ng Olympics in Tokyo, which is in July. So, there is that possibility," he said.
ABAP plans for the Filipino boxers to compete in the Asian Boxing Championships, scheduled for May 21 to 31 in New Delhi, India.
In particular, Olympic-bound boxers Eumir Marcial, Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam, and Irish Magno are expected to participate in the tournament to beef up their preparation for the Summer Games.
"Ang plano is to go from Bangkok to New Delhi," said Picson. "I've already spoken to my counterpart in India, and they welcome the idea na kahit before, way before the tournament dates, pumunta na kami doon."
"And then, after the tournament, manatili sa India for more training," he added.
This can only benefit the Filipino boxers as India "is a very powerful boxing country," according to Picson.
The camps in Thailand and India will benefit not just the Olympic-bound boxers but also those who will compete in the 2021 Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi later this year.
Filipino boxers were dominant in the 2019 SEA Games at home, winning seven gold medals, three silvers, and two bronzes. Paalam, Marcial, and Petecio all won gold medals, while Magno settled for a silver.
"That's the reason why, aside from being sparring partners, we have other boxers in the training camp. Aside from training or helping train our Olympians, they're also there to raise their level of activity and skill and competence in preparation for the Southeast Asian Games," said Picson.
ABAP is looking for other countries where the boxing team can train in ahead of the Olympics, but Picson admits that the pandemic has made it difficult.
"Depende sa sitwasyon. Sino ba ang tatanggap na mga bansa? Saan ba natin gustong pumunta? Ano ba ang kundisyon doon? And, of course, magkano ba?" he said.
"These are all the factors that we need to consider and ang problema talaga, nagbabago almost every day because of the COVID situation. It's nobody's fault, and no one can actually predict what's going to happen tomorrow, 'di ba, much more 'yung in the weeks to come. So everything is fluid," he added.