BAGUIO CITY – So much heartened by her qualification to the Tokyo Olympics this July after her box-off with a young boxer from Tajikstan, Irish Magno will go back immediately to training.
“Balik training ulit po (I will be back to training again),” said Magno some 16 hours after her arrival here from Amman, Jordan where she became the second boxer, the fourth Filipino athlete and the very first female boxer ever to join the Olympics four months from now.
“Talagang napakasaya ko po at proud matapos mag-qualify (I’m so happy and proud after I qualified),” said the 28-year-old Bachelor of Science in Criminology student from the University of Baguio (UB) as she goes to the public market to buy food, wearing her Philippine Sports Commission issued jacket and jogger’s pants.
Magno and the Philippine contingent arrived Friday in Manila after a successful campaign at Jordan, capital in the Middle East.
Magno joined fellow boxer Eumir Marcial to the Tokyo Olympics after the latter boxed his way to the finals and later claimed the gold in the Asia-Oceana Olympic qualifiers, where fellow UB students Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam failed to secure the tickets.
“May pag-asa pa naman si Nesh (Petecio) at Carlo (There is still hope for Nesh and Carlo),” she said, referring to the Paris, France qualifier on May 13 to 24.
“Balik ensayo rin si Nesh at nakarating na rin po dito sa Baguio (Nesh is going back to training and she has already arrived),” Magno added.
Magno’s back door entry to the Olympics was the cause of celebration to UB people led by its president.
“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 in a private message.
Magno used her nine-year experience over the 19-year-old Sumaiya Qosimova to register a one-sided 30-24, 30-24, 30-24, 30-25, 30-25 victory.
Magno went to the box-off 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 Petecio.
Magno came to the qualifiers with a less stellar 2019 performance as her teammates.
In October 2019 (Amateur) International Boxing Association (AIBA), she fell to China’s Cai Zongju in the first round.
In the SEAG 2019 in December, she lost to Vietnam’s Thi Tam Nguyen in the women’s flyweight finals to settle for the silver medal. It was her second defeat to Nguyen whom she lost to in the 2018 Thailand Open.
Petecio, Paalam, and the veteran Josie Gabuco won gold medals, while the fifth UB student Aira Villegas settled for a bronze medal.
Team Philippines won seven gold medals in the 30th SEAG edging rival Thailand which won a total of six golds. (iamigo/sovereignph.com/PNA)