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Manny Pacquiao’s bid to compete at Paris Olympics denied by IOC

By: June Navarro - Philippine Daily Inquirer | February 18,2024 - 05:18 PM

Manny Pacquiao

Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines enters the ring for his fight against Yordenis Ugas of Cuba during the WBA Welterweight Championship boxing match at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on August 21, 2021. | File Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP

MANILA, Philippines–Boxing icon Manny Pacquiao has the gift of electrifying the crowd in all of his fights, except in the Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee shut the door on the former eight-division world professional champion’s bid to carry the Philippine colors in the coming 2024 Paris Olympics.

In response to a letter from the Philippine Olympic Committee, the IOC put its foot down on the appeal by Pacquiao by simply stating that the Filipino ring idol is way past the age limit in the quadrennial Summer Games.

“Too bad our beloved boxing icon is disqualified because of his age and that everyone needs to go through the qualifiers, in all sports, to be able to participate in Paris,” said POC president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino.

The 45-year-old Pacquiao appealed to relax the 40-year-old age limit in the Olympics last year. James McLeod, IOC Director for National Olympic Committee Relations, wrote the POC of the world governing body’s decision.

“The only valid boxing qualification system for Paris 2024 is the one approved by the IOC Executive Board in September 2022 published and distributed to NOCs (national Olympic committees) and boxing national federations on 6 December 2022,” McLeod said in his letter.

Pacquiao, a former senator, likewise didn’t pass the grade in the IOC’s universality rule.

“The universality places for the Olympic Games will not be allocated to NOCs with an average of more that eight athletes in individual sports/disciplines at the last two editions of the Olympic Games (Rio De Janeiro and Tokyo),” added Mcleod.

Team Philippines brought 17 athletes to Tokyo, all of whom competed in individual sports. Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo captured the first Olympic gold for the country back then while boxers Carlo Paalam and Nesthy Petecio claimed the silver.

Eumir Marcial, one of the early qualifiers in boxing, clinched a bronze medal in 2021 Tokyo.

Three other Filipinos will join Marcial in Paris—pole vaulter EJ Obiena and gymnasts Aleah Finnegan and Carlos Yulo.


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TAGS: boxing, Manny Pacquiao, Paris Olympics

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