Manny Pacquiao Paris Olympics bid ends on a sour note

Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao won’t be showcasing his legendary ring savvy to the Paris Olympics primarily because the former eight-division world professional champion is overaged.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), in response to a letter from the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) late last year appealing for the former senator’s stint in Paris, stressed on the 40-year-old age limit for athletes participating in the Olympics.

Pacquiao is already 45 years old.

Manny Pacquiao's Paris Olympic dream came to an abrupt end due to age-related issues. [photo credit: Manny Pacquiao Facebook]
Manny Pacquiao’s Paris Olympic dream came to an abrupt end due to age-related issues. [photo credit: Manny Pacquiao Facebook]

In the same breadth, had Pacquiao met the age regulation, his possible qualification for the Olympics is to go through qualifiers, one of them last year’s Asian Games where Eumir Felix Marcial earned a light heavyweight clinching silver in Hangzhou.

“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,” POC president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said on Tuesday, February 13.

James McLeod, IOC Director for National Olympic Committee Relations, wrote the POC on its request for Pacquiao to be able to box 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.

Pacquiao, too, couldn’t make 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 [08] athletes in individual sports/disciplines at the last two editions of the Olympic Games [Rio and Tokyo],” Mcleod added.

The Philippines had 17 athletes in Tokyo—all in individual sports—with Hidilyn Diaz Naranjo winning the country’s first Olympic gold medal and Carlo Paalam and Nesthy Petecio clnching silver medals and Marcial bagging bronze in boxing.

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

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