Sports

Marcial clinches Paris Olympic ticket, gets silver in Asian Games

HANGZHOU – Filipino Olympian Eumir Marcial, the only Filipino boxer standing in the Asian Games, hit two birds with one stone in the 19th Asian Games on October 4.

The Filipino southpaw made it to the gold medal round of the men’s 80kg class after demolishing Ahmad Ghousoon of Syria and earned an outright berth in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Marcial, however, lost to China’s Tanglatihan Tuohetaerbieke in the gold medal finals on October 5, but he copped the silver medal.

Marcial, bronze medalist in the Tokyo Games, dominated Ghousoon in their semifinal bout at the Hangzhou gymnasium, twice decking the Syrian in the second round, including a left jab which set him up for a smashing right hook that served as the coup de grace in the rousing victory.

Official time was 1:49 of the second round.

When everything was over, Marcial went to his corner and cried on the shoulders of coaches Ronald Chavez and Don Abnett as reality quickly set in that he was bound for another shot at the Olympics.

Boxing is among the few sports in this edition of the continental meet that serves as a qualifier for next year’s Paris Olympiad.

“Sabi ko baka hindi na para sa akin itong Olympics (I thought Olympics is not for me),” said an emotional Marcial, who initially doubted he’d be able to compete in the Olympiad again after his weight class of 75 kg had been scrapped in the Paris Games.

But upon the prodding of his family including his wife Princess, Marcial gave it one more shot, moved up in weight, and briefly set aside his pro boxing career for the Asiad.

“Sabi niya (Princess), ‘kaya mo yan, kung may pagkakataon ka gawin mo (Princess said, ‘you can do it’, if you have a chance, do it),” Marcial recalled his conversation with his wife.

Now, he’s just a win away from winning that gold.

“That’s Eumir, he’s very focused and dedicated and he has trained well not only for the Asian Games but also for his Olympic qualification,” said Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham ‘Bambol’ Tolentino, one of the many people Marcial thanked in his quest for another Olympic stint, along with ABAP (Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines) chairman Ricky Vargas, and boxing legend and promoter Manny Pacquiao, (Jeanne Michael Penaranda)