Home Sports Cramming to be ‘skilled’ starts as Bacyadan is fifth pug to Summer...

Cramming to be ‘skilled’ starts as Bacyadan is fifth pug to Summer Games


Hergie Bacyadan displays her ticket to Paris. —JUNE NAVARRO

Hergie Bacyadan displays her ticket to Paris. —JUNE NAVARRO

BANGKOK—Hergie Bacyadan has no grand illusions of contending prominently for a medal in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

But that doesn’t mean that she won’t try.

“I know I have the [natural] talent, but I still lack the skills,’’ Bacyadan told the Inquirer after claiming an Olympic spot at the conclusion of the World Boxing Olympic Qualification Tournament here on Sunday.

The pride of Barrio Taluktuk in Tabuk, Kalinga, pulverized Venezuela’s Maryelis Yriza in the last eight of the women’s 75-kilogram division at Indoor Stadium Huamark for a unanimous decision that upped the nation’s qualifiers in the quadrennial global Games next month to 15 athletes.

“I have to train more. My punches are already potent and powerful. What concerns me is the timing in throwing them with accuracy,’’ said Bacyadan, who destroyed three opponents in securing the Paris ticket.

Ex-vovinam ace

She’s the fifth Filipino pug to make it to the Olympics this year after Eumir Marcial, Aira Villegas, Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam, who likewise qualified late Saturday in the same tournament.

Bacyadan suited up for the national boxing team two years ago before shifting to vovinam, the Vietnamese indigenous combat sport where she became the first world champion last year.

Recalled to answer national boxing team duty for the Olympic qualifiers, a quick turnaround was not easy.

Allowed only a short period to recall the fundamentals, Bacyadan got flustered on her initial attempt to book a slot in the first World Olympic Qualification Tournament in Busto Arsizio, Italy, two months back.

“It came to a point that I doubted if I can still really do this. But I just kept on pushing and now I’m an Olympian,’’ said Bacyadan, engulfed by emotion as tears uncontrollably rolled down her cheeks.

The other Paris-bound Filipino athletes are 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.

“This is a dream come true. If the road to Paris was already difficult, I expect competing there to be much, much harder,’’ said Bacyadan.

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“The pressure to qualify was really great. I know that I have so much more to learn in time for Paris,’’ she added. INQ

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