Manny Pacquiao

IOC thumbs down Pacquiao’s bid for Paris Olympics

February 18, 2024 Robert Andaya 244 views

BOXING legend Manny Pacquiao is not competing in the Paris Olympics, after all.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) formally turned down the request of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) to allow Pacquiao to represent the country in the boxing competitions in the Olympics scheduled July 26-August 11 in Paris.

In a letter to POC president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, the IOC said Pacquiao, a former eight-division world champion, is already overaged and stressed the 40-year-old age limit for athletes participating in the Olympics.

Pacquiao turned 45 years old last Dec. 17.

The IOC also stressed that even if Pacquiao met the age requirement, he still needs to go through qualifiers, like Eumir Felix Marcial, who booked his ticket after clinching the silver medal in last year’s Asian Games.

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

Tolentino also shared a copy of the response of James McLeod, IOC Director for National Olympic Committee Relations, to POC on its request for the Filipino champion to be able to compete in Paris.

“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 and boxing national federations on 6 December 2022,” McLeod said in his letter. “This includes the age limit of 40,” McLeod said.

McLeod also claimed Pacquiao could not make it to Paris under the Universality rule.

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

Tolentino noted that the Philippines had 17 athletes in the Tokyo Olympics — all in individual sports.

Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz made history when she captured the country’s first Olympic gold medal.

Boxing champions Carlo Paalam and Nesthy Petecio clnched silver medals and Marcial bagged a bronze.

So far, only four Filipino athletes have qualified for Paris– world No. 2 pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena, artistic gymnasts Carlos Yulo and Aleah Finnegan and Marcial.