Velasco

Velasco:This could be our Olympic year

July 26, 2021 Ed Andaya 471 views

THE Filipino athletes now competing in the coronavirus-delayed 2021 Tokyo OlympIcs should simply keep their focus on their goal, and not the prize.

Barcelona Olympics bronze medalist Roel Velasco made the timely and important reminder as he expressed confidence on the Filipinos’ chances to finally win the country’s first-ever gold medal since joining the Olympics in 1924.

“Gaya ng madami nating mga kababayan ngayon na sumusubaybay sa Tokyo Olympics, na-aamoy ko na ang gold medal,” said Velasco during the 111th edition of the “Usapang Sports on Air” by the TabloIds OrganIzation in Philippine Sports (TOPS) via Zoom.

Velasco, one of 10 sports heroes inducted into the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame last week for winning the bronze medal in boxing during the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, believes the time is right for the Filipinos to end the country’s 97-year gold-medal drought in the Olympics.:

Velasco should know. He came two wins short of winning the gold in 1992.

His younger borther, Onyok Velasco, captured the silver medal in the 1996 Barcelona Olympics..

“Sa boxing, sa tingin ko makukuha na natin yung Olympic gold. Kahit nagkaroon ng pandemic, maganda yun naging paghahanda ng mga boxers natin. Ginawa naman natin ang lahat kaya tiwala ako sa mga boxers natin. Siyempre, kailangan may kasamang swerte at panalangin sa Poong Maykapal,” added Velasco during the public service program sponsored by the PSC, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and Games and Amusements Board (GAB).

Velasco, however, reminded the Filipino athletes to focus on their coming battles and don’t think about the financial windfall that comes with winning to help ease the pressure.

“Yun mga financial incentives at iba pang mga bonuses, darating naman yun pag nakuha na yun gold medal,” explained Velasco, who also now serves as coach of the national team under the Alliance of Boxing Associations of the Philippines (ABAP).

Asked for his fearless predictions in boxing, Velasco claimed Nesthy Petecio, Eumir Felix Marcial and Carlo Paalam have the best chances of bringing home the elusive gold medals.

“Si Nesthy (Petecio), matagal ko siyang nahawakan bilang coach kaya alam ko ang kakayahan niya. Nakikinig talaga siya sa mga instructions ng coaches niya. Nakikinig siya sa bawat turo sa kanya. Yun mga experiences ko sa Barcelona na-i-share ko din sa kanya. Siya ang No. 1 na in-expect ko na manalo ng gold medal,” said Velasco.

“Pero pati sina Eumir at Carlo may pag-asa sa sa men’s division. Pati si Irish (Magno), pwede din mag-medalya.”

Velasco admitted the tough task ahead for the Filipino boxers in Tokyo.

“Pero gaya ng ibang Olympics, dadaan sa butas ng karayom talaga ang ating mga boxers. Kay Marcial, makakaharap niya yung mga Ukraine boxers na talagang malalaki at maga galing . Pati nga mga taga Kazakhstan, Russia at Cuba. Alam naman natin na yung mga Cubano, laging handa pag dating ng Olympics” said Velasco.

“Kaya sabi ko, pag nanalo si Marcial, bigay talaga ng Tadhana sa kanya iyun..”

“Kay Nesthy, mabigat kalaban yung Kazakhstan Pati Yun Japanese, na tumalo sa kanya dati, Pero sa tingin ko, babawi si Nesthy ngayon dahil nun qualifying, parang kampante pa siya. Lessons learned. Ika na, sa bawat kabiguan, may tagumpay.”

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