Philippines wants Olympic boxing qualifier moved due to pneumonia scare in China province
Joey Villar (Philstar.com) - January 22, 2020 - 2:58pm

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Olympic Committee on Wednesday showed full support to the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines’ plea to move the Asia and Oceana boxing qualifier for this year’s Tokyo Olympics from February 3-14 in Wuhan, China to another venue or date due to the deadly pneumonia outbreak in the capital of Hubei province.

“The POC shares the sentiments of ABAP regarding the situation prevailing in the site of the Boxing Olympic Qualifying event in Wuhan, China,” said POC president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino in a statement. “The outbreak of a mysterious Coronavirus strain is alarming and we appeal to the International Olympic Committee to seriously consider transferring the venue city and the dates of the tournament.

“The danger posed by possible contamination is highly risky and we cannot afford to expose not only our delegation, but others as well,” he added.

The letter came days after ABAP also sent a letter for the organizers to reconsider their decision of hosting the event in Wuhan.

ABAP secretary-general Ed Picson said he expects a decision from the IOC itself anytime today.

“We’re expecting a decision tomorrow and we’re hoping for the best,” said Picson.

Tolentino also said the POC will support the ABAP if and when Wuhan decides to give up the hosting in favor of the Philippines.

“We likewise support ABAP’s suggestion to transfer the tournament to the Philippines. The POC will endeavor to assist in whatever way it can. Needless to say, we will abide by whatever decision the IOC ultimate makes,” said Tolentino.

Picson had earlier said they would take extra precautions should the Wuhan tilt pushes through as scheduled.

ABAP is fielding as many as eight boxers, including reigning world women’s champion Nesthy Petecio and World Championship silver medal winner Eumir Felix Marcial.

Also being considered for the Wuhan trip are Carlo Paalam, Rogen Ladon, Charly Suarez, James Palicte and Josie Gabuco, who, like Petecio and Marcial, snared the gold in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.

The Wuhan tilt serves as one of the two qualifying tournaments for the Filipinos to advance to Tokyo, the other one being the World Qualifying tournament in Paris in May.

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