It is now just over two months away from the Tokyo Olympics and yet Filipino Olympian Eumir Marcial and the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) are still having issues regarding his training expenses.
In an interview on Noli Eala's Power & Play, Marcial claimed he has not been receiving much support from concerned agencies while he continues his preparations for the Games which will take place in Tokyo starting July 23.
"Since nung umalis po ako, wala po akong natanggap na tulong galing po sa ating mga tumutulong sa sports," said the heavy-handed middleweight, who is among heavily favored to win an Olympic gold medal in Tokyo.
Although he did not mention which agency he was referring to, but he is apparently alluding to ABAP and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
"Never ako magsalita na sana about sa ganyan kasi gusto ko training lang ako papuntang Olympics... kung ‘yung support katulad ng mga qualifiers tulad nina Hidilyn (Diaz), nina Carlos Yulo at EJ Obiena at iba pa, ako po wala po akong natatanggap,” said Marcial.
Marcial is currently training in his hometown of Zamboanga after a lengthy stay in the US where he made his professional debut.
He chose to be in Zamboanga instead of joining his teammates to visit his ailing father.
"Sa ngayon po ang tumutulong sa'min si Sir Junie Navarro ng Zamboanga Valientes at yung ibang taong sumusuporta sa akin dito," said Marcial.
ABAP secretary-general Ed Picson refuted his claims, citing that they tried to provide everything Marcial needs even while the majority of Luzon was locked down last year due to the pandemic.
“We were taken aback by his statements na wala raw suporta from the PSC and from ABAP, which is completely untrue,” Picson said in the weekly Philippine Sports Association (PSA) Forum.
Picson said that even during the lockdown last year they provided Marcial training equipment and internet router so he can train while he was staying in his Cavite residence.
He added that they even volunteered to send Australian coach Don Abnett every day to Cavite to oversee his training.
"I told Coach Don and I said na I’ll pay for your transportation expenses to go to Cavite every day. And Coach Don tried to call and text him, he never replied,” said Picson.
“And we had online trainings. He said mahina ang signal, we gave him a router... He never used it. He never trained a single day. So we were very disappointed.”
Picson said ABAP also rewarded Marcial an incentive for qualifying for the Olympics, which is aside from the incentive provided by the PSC.
"'Yung incentive from qualifying to the Olympics, it's not mandatory for ABAP to give him that incentive pero binigyan siya... Mr. Vargas really worked for that kasi lockdown noon and it is very difficult to source funds that time," he said.
Picson said that even when Marcial arrived in Zamboanga, ABAP provided him a coach in Gerson Nietes.
“When he came home from the States, biglaan, ‘di namin alam. Sabi niya, kailangan ko ng coach o binigyan namin, si Gerson Nietes which is his good friend... Kaya siya ang kinuha ko because he and Gerson Nietes are very good friends," he said.
“So by and large, napakaraming–iba pa ‘yung mga personal naming tulong sa kanila … Meron naman kaming binibigay sa kanya. Ang problema lang talaga, medyo naguguluhan yata siya sa role niya as a professional and as a national athlete."
For his part, Commissioner Ramon Fernandez of the Philippine Sports Commission said they made sure that the government provides Marcial's training allowance especially since he is an Olympian.
"Tuloy tuloy naman ang allowance niya, maski nga nag-pro na siya pinatuloy namin ang allowance niya, because we know very well he is going to play for the country sa Olympics. I believe he is also geting allowance from the Air Force. Nagreact lang ako roon, mali naman 'yun," he said.
"Baka kulang lang sa communication si Marcial sa ABAP. Practically lahat ng request especially with regards to their training ang competitions abroad and anywhere, sinusuportahan namin yan lalo ang mga Olympians natin."
Marcial will be joining his fellow Pinoy boxers in the Asian Elite Men and Women Boxing Championships later this month. He added that he plans to join the national team's training camp in Thailand after the tourney.
It remains to be seen how their recent pronouncements will affect their working relationship ahead the games in Tokyo.
FROM THE ARCHIVES