Tuesday, April 23, 2024
HomeSportHard-hitting Bacyadan fast-tracking her journey to Paris

Hard-hitting Bacyadan fast-tracking her journey to Paris


Hergie Bacyadan is looking to wear the Philippine colors in the Paris Olympics.

Hergie Bacyadan is looking to wear the Philippine colors in the Paris Olympics. —HERGIE BACYADAN/INSTAGRAM

Foiled during the previous Olympic qualification, Hergie Bacyadan knows exactly what to master to earn that rare trip to the 2024 Paris Summer Games.

And with less than two months before the final qualifier to the luxurious French capital, Bacyadan should act real fast.“My footwork has been improving, there’s power in my fists. What I lack are the speed and timing on landing those punches,’’ Bacyadan told the Inquirer.

Bacyadan is not just a strong bet to make the women’s boxing competitions in the Olympics, she is also a potential medalist in Paris. The 29-year-old middleweight from Kalinga has been gradually reacquainting herself with amateur boxing after dominating the global scene in vovinam, Vietnam’s premier combat sport.

“I was out of the boxing ring for more than two years. Here, hand speed and delivering sharp punches are important and the coaches regularly remind me to keep my head up and always raise my fists. I’m working on it,’’ said Bacyadan.

She became the first Filipino world champion in vovinam late last year and was recognized as the best performer in the sport during the Women In Sports Awards organized by the Philippine Sports Commission and Philippine Commission on Women recently.

Bacyadan, who was part of the national boxing team prior to the pandemic, didn’t pursue the transition from vovinam back to amateur boxing.

Lobbied for inclusion

It was Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol’’ Tolentino and secretary general Wharton Chan, a lawyer, who lobbied for her inclusion to the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines, the local body that handles the national team.“Have you ever seen her fight? Her power and strength are exceptional. She’s a potential (Olympic) gold medalist,’’ said Toletino in a recent interview.

Bacyadan was a bit more modest about her chances: “They say that I have great potential, but I offered no assurance. I will just push myself to be there in Paris.’’

After joining the team in a training camp in Spain, Bacyadan made her debut in the World Qualification Tournament 1 in Busto Arsizio, Italy, but yielded to Brazil Olympian Viviane Pereira with a narrow 3-2 split decision in her opening bout in the women’s 75 kilograms.

It didn’t help that Bacyadan suffered from her recurring allergies during the fight, making it difficult for her to breathe.

“It happened (allergies) and the timing wasn’t good since I was up against an Olympian. But I knew I could beat her,’’ said Bacyadan.The World Qualification Tournament 2 is scheduled May 23 to June 3 in Bangkok, Thailand, where a semifinal appearance in the meet would be enough for Bacyadan to join fellow boxers Eumir Marcial, Nesthy Petecio and Aira Villegas in Paris.



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She’ll accompany the team in a training camp in Colorado, United States, for two weeks prior to the final Olympic qualifier in Bangkok.





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