BAGUIO CITY – It took more than 28 years for a student-athlete here to get to the Olympics, after runner Hector Begeo.
Baguio had a third Olympian, judoka Jerry Diño.
On Wednesday, the University of Baguio Criminology student Irish Magno joined two-time Olympian Begeo of athletics to be in the Olympics in the short roster of Olympians after beating Tajikstan’s Sumaiya Qosimova.
The one-sided 30-24, 30-24, 30-25, 30-25 was Magno’s statement after getting drubbed by Indian and former world champion Mary Kom in the quarterfinals that saw also the exit of world champion and top seed Nesthy Petecio.
She will be joining fellow boxer Eumir Marcial, who won the gold in the Amman, Jordan Asia-Oceana Olympic Qualifiers as well as pole vaulter EJ Obiena and gymnast Carlo Yulo to the Tokyo Olympics this July.
Sister Cheryl Magno, a former member of the UB women’s basketball, congratulated her sister on her Facebook page for being the first Filipina boxer to make it to the Olympics.
“Congratulations Nene Magno,” said the younger Magno, who is now back in their home town in Januiay, Iloilo after completing her Criminology course at UB.
“UB is very proud of Irish as she has worked very hard and sacrificed a lot to achieve her goals. She is still not done with her journey, so we, along with the entire nation, will be rooting for her and all the other Philippine athletes in the coming 2020 summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan,” UB president Javier Herminio Bautista told the Philippine News Agency.
However, another UB student, Carlo Paalam failed in his early bid for a Tokyo slot after falling to KazakhSaken Bibossinov in a close 1-4 decision.
Last year’s world championship bronze medalist got the nod of four judges giving him a 30-27, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28 score, while a fifth judge saw it in Paalam’s favor at 30-27.
Paalam could yet make it to the Olympics if he makes good in the World Qualifying Tournament in Paris, France slated on May 13 to 20.
UB has been home to many national athletes including all the former Gintong Alay athletes among them former Southeast Asia sprint queen Lydia de Vega, Guido del Prado, Elma Muros, now Baguio resident and SEA javelin queen Erlinda Lavandia and Begeo, who is now an Australian resident.
Begeo joined the 1988 Olympics in South Korea and was in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona along with Dino. (PNA)