July 18, 2024

■  Ofelia C. Empian

Kalinga boxer Hergie Bacyadan is one of the five Filipino boxers who will carry the Philippine flag in the 2024 Paris Olympics after earning a slot at the se-cond Olympic qualifying tournament in Bangkok, Thailand. 

Bacyadan secured her spot at the Olympic Games after beating Venezuela’s Maryelis Yriza via unanimous decision in the women’s 75-kilogram on June 2.  

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED — 2024 Paris Olympics-bound Carlo Paalam (center) and Hergie Bacyadan (2nd from right), were joined by Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) officials led by Chair Ricky Vargas, President Robbie Puno, and Executive Director Marcus Manalo at the close of the 2nd World Olympic Qualification Tournament in Bangkok, Thailand on June 2. — ABAP photo

The 29-year-old pride of Tanudan, who performed a ce-lebratory Igorot eagle dance shortly after being announced the winner, became the fifth boxer to qualify for the Olympics.   

Happy lang ako, kasi bago ko nakuha ito madami akong napagdaanan din. Nagkasakit ako at hindi OK ang performances ko during the training camps. So, parang dumating sa point na I’m disappointed and I doubted myself. Whenever I feel that way, I call my family to gain encouragement for me to push through,” Bacyadan said in a post-bout interview with Inquirer Sports.

She said she is working hard on improving her foot works, especially coming from a wushu background.

Bacyadan was a former world vovinam champion, ha-ving won the women’s combat 66-kg. division of the Vietnamese martial arts in the 2023 Southeast Asian Games in Ho Chi Minh City.

She thanked her coaches as well as the Samahang Kickboxing ng Pilipinas Secretary General Wharton Chan for backing her up to train for the Olympics qualifiers under the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP).

Qualified along with Bacyadan in Thailand was Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Carlo Paalam, who defeated India’s Sachin Siwach via a unanimous decision in the men’s 57-kg. 

They will join Tokyo bronze medalist Eumir Marcial, Tok-yo silver medalist Nesthy Petecio, and Aira Villegas who were earlier qualified through the Olympics qualifier in Italy.

The five Filipino boxers will train for the next months for the Summer Olympic Games in Paris, France on July 26 to Aug. 11.