Home Sports Carlo Paalam hurries to be 100% battle-ready for Paris Olympics

Carlo Paalam hurries to be 100% battle-ready for Paris Olympics

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Carlo Paalam drops to his knees after being declared the unanimous decision winner over India’s Sachin Siwach for a second straight Olympics stint. —PHOTO COURTESY OF BOXING.ATHLETE365.COM

Carlo Paalam drops to his knees after being declared the unanimous decision winner over India’s Sachin Siwach for a second straight Olympics stint. —PHOTO COURTESY OF BOXING.ATHLETE365.COM

Carlo Paalam will come fully equipped for the 2024 Paris Olympics, his quickness, footwork and veteran smarts all intact beyond question.

There’s only one thing physical that concerns him on the way to the French capital in July, one that the Tokyo Olympic silver medalist hopes to stamp out in no time.

“I can still feel pain in my shoulder. It hasn’t gone away completely because there are movements that really bother me,’’ Paalam told the Inquirer a day after securing passage to his second consecutive Olympics.

Paalam endured the discomfort throughout his five fights in the World Boxing Olympic Qualification Tournament in Bangkok, Thailand, punctuated by a unanimous decision over India’s Sachin Siwach on Saturday evening to clinch the Paris berth.

“I have to recover quickly and make sure that I’ll be healthy in Paris,’’ said Paalam, who rewarded himself with an ice bath in his hotel room and a rub down from the physical therapist to relieve the aches.

The 25-year-old from Cagayan de Oro said it hardly matters to him who he’ll face in Paris in the men’s 57-kilogram division, since he has adjusted pretty well after climbing from the 51-kg class where he struck silver in Tokyo.

He didn’t make it through the continental door in the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, last year and also missed the ride going to Paris in the first qualifying tournament in Busto Arsizio, Italy, two months ago.

Paalam’s right shoulder injury came in the opening bout when Mexico’s Andrey Bonilla slammed him to the canvas in the Italy qualifier. He was forced to retire against Turkmenistan’s Shukur Ovezov in the succeeding bout.

Paalam had to forgo the team’s training camp in the United States to let the injured shoulder heal before gradually returning to action.

“This injury became my motivation to work harder. I just kept the faith and trusted myself during the entire process,’’ said Paalam, while thanking his coaches Ronald Chavez and Elmer Pamisa who guided him throughout.

Much-needed rest

Full support for Paalam’s return bid likewise came from the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines chair Ricky Vargas, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham Tolentino and secretary general and lawyer Wharton Chan, who led a small Filipino gallery that cheered for him at Indoor Stadium Huamark.

“I never doubted Carlo’s ability to qualify despite the odds,’’ said Tolentino.

“They believed that I could do it and they never failed to motivate me,’’ said Paalam, who takes a much-needed respite in Cagayan de Oro where he and wife Shayne will celebrate the first birthday of their first child, daughter Celest, on June 12.

Returning to the Olympic podium is the next objective for Paalam, who will join fellow Filipino qualifiers in a training camp in France arranged by the POC a month prior to the competition.



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Paalam became the country’s 14th athlete bound for Paris after fellow boxers Eumir Marcial, Nesthy Petecio and Aira Villegas, fencer Samantha Catantan, gymnasts Carlos Yulo, Emma Malabuyo, Aleah Finnegan and Levi Jung-Ruivivar, pole vaulter EJ Obiena, rower Joanie Delgaco and weightlifters Elreen Ando, John Ceniza and Vanessa Sarno. INQ





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