MANILA, Philippines -- As the Olympic Games draw closer, the president of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) is asking the country's athletes to focus on their campaigns in Tokyo.
In particular, POC president Rep. Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino hopes for a "ceasefire" between star boxer Eumir Marcial and the country's boxing federation after weeks of back-and-forth regarding the supposed lack of financial support for the athlete.
"I'm trying to reach out to these athletes, especially Marcial," said Tolentino during the Philippine Sportswriting Association (PSA) Forum, Tuesday.
"Ganoon talaga ang message ko -- focus muna tayo sa Olympics," he stressed. "Saka na natin pag-usapan 'yun after Olympics…. I mean, with this Olympics fast approaching, ceasefire muna tayo."
Marcial has been open about his disappointment over a lack of support while training for the Olympics in the United States. He recently bared that he has been receiving a monthly allowance of P43,000, which he stressed was not enough especially when he trained in Los Angeles.
The Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines (ABAP) responded by saying that they have not lacked support for Marcial. They also urged the boxer to focus on the Olympics and shift his training to the amateur style, after months of training at the Wild Card Gym with professional boxers.
Marcial is currently in Dubai where he is competing in the ASBC Asian Elite Men’s and Women’s Boxing Championships with other Filipino boxers.
While Tolentino is well aware of the issues between Marcial and ABAP, he hopes that all discussions will be tabled until after the Tokyo Games.
"Focus muna tayo sa Olympics," he said. "Pakiusap ko muna sa kanya at sa lahat, 'wag muna nating palakihin 'yung apoy. Focus muna tayo sa Olympics kasi ilang linggo na lang 'yan, seven weeks."
"Para hindi muna masira 'yung direction. After Olympics na natin pag-usapan 'yun," he said.
Marcial is considered as one of the Philippines' brightest medal hopes in Tokyo. The heavy-handed lefty is dominant in the Southeast Asian region, and won gold in the Asia-Oceania qualifiers in March 2020 to secure his spot in the Olympics.
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