P12M IN 2012
By Maloney L. Samaco
Fri, 23 Jan 2009
BACOLOD CITY - It was the climax of the ABAP Congress for stakeholders held in the plush L? Fisher Hotel here on January 22. The booming announcement made by Smart-PLDT boss and ABAP Chairman Manny V. Pangilinan that their company will be giving P12 million for the boxer who can win the Olympic gold medal for the Philippines in the 2012 London Olympics.
Gold medalists for world championships will receive P 1 million, for the Southeast Asian Games P300,000 and for the minor international competitions will receive P30,000. Incentives will also be rewarded to the silver and bronze medalists of the said contests. So far in any sport, this is the biggest incentive package offered by a private firm to help entice our athletes to perform exceptionally.
The ABAP Congress was a gathering of the Who?s Who in sports led by the bigwigs of Smart-PLDT. President Ricky Vargas ensured a comprehensive training program that could lead towards the realization of the Olympic dream. Secretary-general Patrick Gregorio presented in detail how ABAP is going to put these plans and programs into action.
Outgoing ABAP president Manny Lopez and outgoing chairman Gov. Raul Daza of Northern Samar executed a very smooth turnover of the ABAP reign symbolized by the ABAP banner received by Pangilinan and Vargas. Lopez became the ABAP vice president and Daza remained as regional chairman for Eastern Visayas.
Bacolod Representative Monico Puentevella acknowledged the presence and help of all boxing enthusiasts who spared their time to attend the congress. He announced that the total number of participants in the ongoing Smart ABAP National Amateur Boxing championships have reached 655 out of the expected 400 plus. He is positive that next year, the number could reach more than a thousand boxers and officials.
Presented was a video depicting the performance of the Philippines in the past 84 years, since the country first joined the Olympics in 1924 in Paris, France. Out of the two silver and seven bronze medals won, two silvers and three bronzes were from boxing. So the great possibility that the first Olympic gold will come from boxing is not remote.
Two Olympic medalists were present, the 1992 Barcelona bronze medalist Roel Velasco and 1996 Atlanta silver medalist Mansueto ?Onyok? Velasco. The 1988 Seoul Olympic bronze medalist Leopoldo Serrantes was invited but could not attend due to health problems. The other silver medalist was Anthony Villanueva in 1964 in Tokyo while the other bronze medalist was Jose Villanueva in 1932 in Los Angeles.
There was a dynamic atmosphere in the congregation of all the stakeholders and everybody is very enthusiastic that amateur boxing is headed towards the right direction. With the golden helping hand extended by Smart-PLDT, Philippine amateur boxing has nowhere to go but up.
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