By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Boxing’s only eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao is eager to represent the Philippines in the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics.
A month ago, the Filipino boxing superstar already expressed his intentions to become a part of the PHL national team but failed to suit up in the Asian Games that will serve as a qualifier to Paris.
However, the possibility of Pacquiao’s participation in Paris is still up for grabs after the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) started to make their moves and process their appeal.
POC President Abraham Tolentino already confirmed that they already sent a letter of request to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), revealing that they inquired if they will be allowed to nab a slot for the universality places rules.
Under the universality places rule, an athlete will be granted a spot in the Olympics who failed to undergo the qualification stage, in this case, the Asian Games.
Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) Secretary-General Marcus Manalo also said that they are hands-on in making this possible.
However, it will be a hard process as the Paris Olympics committee set an age limit of 40 years old for all competing athletes.
Pacquiao, now 44, obviously didn’t meet the IOC’s age limit but Manalo reiterated that they can still challenge the ruling and present their case.
Manalo explained that they are planning to appeal the limit and convince the IOC that despite Pacquiao’s age, he can still go toe-to-toe with the younger boxers from the participating countries.
“I believe that age is not a barrier to fulfill our dreams. A clear heart and mind always finds its way to realize our dreams. I believe that it is not too late to fulfill my dream of bringing home a boxing gold medal from the Olympics for the Philippines,” said Pacquaio.