MANILA, Philippines – Businessman and sports patron Manny V. Pangilinan expressed his disappointment over the decision to award the upcoming Olympic qualifying tournament for boxing to Amman, Jordan, after the Philippines offered to host the event.
The qualifier was originally scheduled to be held in Wuhan, China, which is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. The International Olympic Committee's Boxing Task Force (BTF) decided together with the Chinese Olympic Committee to cancel the event.
The Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) promptly volunteered to host the Asia-Oceania qualifiers, with Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino supporting the endeavor.
In a letter to ABAP secretary-general Ed Picson, the BTF said they approved the proposal from Jordan instead.
"Your support and generous offer to host the event was greatly appreciated," BTF chairman Morinari Watanabe said.
"We know that we speak on behalf of the IOC and the entire boxing community when we say thank you for your commitment to making sure the athletes have a chance to compete and qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo."
Pangilinan, the ABAP chairman, said the decision "is obviously, a disappointment."
"We were prepared to fully support the hosting and would have mobilized all resources available toward that end," he said in a statement. "But there will be other opportunities, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to support our boxing program with the same enthusiasm we have shown the past 10 years."
Pangilinan stressed that they will continue to back the Philippine boxing team in its bid for the Olympics.
Filipino boxers dominated in the 30th Southeast Asian Games last December, with 12 of the 13 members of the team winning medals. They contributed seven golds, three silvers, and two bronzes to Team Philippines' record haul.
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