MANILA, Philippines -- Eumir Marcial believes that more Filipino boxers can join him and Irish Magno in next year's Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Marcial and Magno are already assured of spots in Tokyo, thanks to their performances in the Asia and Oceania Olympic qualifying tournament last March in Jordan. Marcial won the gold in the middleweight division, while Magno won in a box-off against Tajikistan's Sumaiya Qosimova to take the spot in the women's flyweight.
Speaking at the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday, Marcial said their teammates in the national boxing team can qualify as well.
"Mas lalo silang naging gutom sa pagte-training, sa mga competition," Marcial said. "Na-inspire sila sa aming dalawa."
"Malaki 'yung tiwala ko na marami pa ang susunod sa amin, mga apat, tatlo," he added.
Marcial's sentiment echoes that of the country's boxing federation. Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines (ABAP) president Ricky Vargas has previously said that five more boxers can qualify for the Olympics.
Among them is world champion Nesthy Petecio, who crashed out in the quarterfinals of the qualifiers. Carlo Paalam, Rogen Ladon, and Ian Clark Bautista are also possible qualifiers.
The Filipinos were supposed to compete in the world Olympic qualifying tournament in Paris last May, but it was postponed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, Marcial also expressed his confidence that Magno can pull off a surprise in the Olympics.
"Laki ng tiwala ko (kay Irish), dahil alam niyo, kung nakilala niyo si Irish, makikita niyo kung paano siya mag-training, gaano siya ka-disiplinado," said Marcial. "Talagang deserve niya talaga ang slot."
"Alam nating mahirap ang gold, pero hindi imposible," he said of Magno's chances. "Malaki ang tiwala ko na magka-medal siya."
The Philippines has not won an Olympic medal in boxing since Mansueto "Onyok" Velasco settled for a silver medal in the men's light flyweight division during the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).