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  • 12 / 23 / 2006

The Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (ABAP) is seeking between P15 million to P20 million for training of 36 Filipino proletarian boxers so they can better prepare for international bouts.

ABAP president Manuel Lopez hopes there will be more funding sources so these can help augment government's financing, which he said, amounted to P3 million for 2006.

"What we're asking for isn't much since the amount is roughly similar to an average local basketball team's budget," he noted.

He said some private sponsors, which helped fund boxers' training for the 2006 Asian Games, already pledged to sustain such support so athletes can prepare for other international competitions.

Lopez noted funding shortage is taking a toll on Philippine amateur boxing as he said the number of Filipino amateur boxers dwindled over the years from 48 to 36 people because funds were short to train them all.

ABAP is gearing up for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China after Filipinos Violito Payla and Joan Tipon each scored a gold medal in boxing during this year's Asian Games in Doha, Qatar.

Lopez said more funds must be provided as soon as possible since boxers concerned need to commence in January 2007 training for three international meets they must hurdle before qualifying for the Beijing Olympics.

"The Asian Games is a far cry from the Olympics which athletes from other regions of the world compete in so we must be given additional support for training," he also said during the Kapihan sa Sulo forum.

Citing the country's performance in boxing during the Doha Games, however, Lopez is convinced proper training will help bolster the Philippines' bid for its first Olympic gold medal during the Olympics in Beijing.

Sepaktakraw national sports association president Mario Tanchanco said authorities will identify in January next year 10 sports which the country has chances of excelling in so these can be prioritized for funding.

Boxing is expected to be in the list, particularly as Filipino boxers continue reaping success in this sport.

"Unlike in the past, we also aim to send abroad for training an entire team instead of individual athletes," he said during the forum.

Philippine boxing team to Doha head coach Pat Gaspi said Lopez, other stakeholders concerned and him are already discussing composition of the coaching staff that will oversee training of boxers eyeing competition in Beijing.

"We plan to get a coach from Cuba to help further train our boxers, however," he said during the forum.

He identified Cuba, Russia, Mexico and the United States as among countries expected to give the Philippines tough competition during the Beijing boxing event. (PNA).

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