April 17, 2024

■  Ofelia C. Empian 

Kalinga pride Hergie Bacyadan is drawing closer to her dream to step into the Paris Olympics following her gold medal win in the 2024 Boxam Elite Tournament in La Nucia, Spain on Feb. 3.  

Bacyadan, a former world vovinam champion, outlasted Yerzhan Gulsaya of Kazakhstan to win via unanimous decision in the women’s 75-kilogram.

WITHIN REACH — The Olympics dream of Kalinga boxer Hergie Bacyadan is within reach after she won a gold medal in the 2024 Boxam Elite Tournament in La Nucia, Spain on Feb. 3. Also winning the 2024 Paris Olympics qualifying event was University of Baguio’s Nesthy Petecio, who won silver in the Tokyo Olympics. — SEAG Network graphic

She demolished Mexico’s Citlalli Ortiz, 4-1, in the semifinals before going to the finals round, proving she can also excel in boxing.

Malayo na, pero malayo pa. Marami pa tayo kailangang i-improve lalo na sa stamina and footwork. More trainings pa to maintain my endurance. Mas lalo ko pang pag-iigihan para sa paparating na qualifying for Olympics,” Bacyadan said in her Facebook post.   

Also ruling their respective boxing bouts in the elite tournament are University of Baguio athletic scholars Nesthy Petecio and Aira Villegas.

Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Petecio outscored Chinese Taipei’s Huang Hsiao-Wen in a 4-1 split decision win in the women’s 57-kg division.

Villegas, meanwhile, labored hard with her bout against Kazakhstan’s Kyzaibay Nazym ending in her favor, 3-2, in the women’s 50-kg. class.

To complete the Philippine boxing team win in the international boxing event is 2016 Rio Olympian Rogen Ladon who won gold by default in the men’s 51-kg. over Hungarian Istvan Szaka.

Ladon has overpowered Mexican Ari Bonilla in the semis with a close 3-2 split decision win and outclassed Scott Richards of Wales with a 3-2 decision in the quarterfinals.

According to Philboxing, the national team boxers need to conquer two more events to qualify for the Paris Olympics. This will be through the 2024 World Qualification Tournaments on Feb. 29 to March 12 in Busto Arsizio, Italy and on May 23 to June 3 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Only Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist Eumir Marcial has qualified for the Paris Games after winning the silver medal in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.