Mendoza: Short of being immoral

Al Mendoza
·2 min read

THE Tokyo Olympics is still a good seven months away. But our athletes aren’t relaxing a bit; they are as intense as ever in their training for the quadrennial Games.

Indeed, a determined athlete thinks of nothing but his event. He dreams of that big one swimming endlessly in his mind, from sunrise to sundown 24/7. He lives every moment of it.

Never mind if the July Olympiad keeps absorbing jabs of uncertainty about its staging. To every Olympian, whether the pandemic-threatened event will push through or not, doesn’t mean a thing. Training goes on nonstop. Rain or shine, trod the beaten path. No surrender. No way, Jose.

Thus, our four Olympians have not let their guard down: gymnast Carlos Yulo, pole vaulter EJ Obiena and boxers Nesthy Petecio and Eumir Felix Marcial.

But, hey, wait a minute.

While I’m pretty sure Yulo is pounding it out in Japan, Obiena in Italy and Petecio in the Calamba bubble in Laguna, not Marcial(?).

For, sadly, Marcial hasn’t left his lair in Los Angeles, California, consistently ignoring calls from his Filipino coaches to come home for the more appropriate Olympic-style boxing of training than the pro-oriented regimen being administered him by Freddie Roach.

Last I heard, Marcial had requested the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) to send him a personal trainer, with PSC shouldering the trainer’s plane, board/lodging and salary expenses. PSC has kept mum.

Shades of favoritism? Entitlement? Ego trip?

While boxing has always been the heavy favorite to win our first ever Olympic gold, still, it’d be short of being immoral and against national pride if a particular boxer is given preferential treatment just because of his great potential. Shamelessly unfair to his fellow Olympians.

Hidilyn Diaz and Irish Magno are our other athletes virtually killing themselves to crash into the Tokyo Games.

But to her credit, Diaz, already a weightlifting silver winner in the 2016 Rio Olympics, hasn’t asked even a teeny-weeny bit to augment her training.

Same with Magno, who will fight in the final qualifiers in June, just a month before the Olympic blastoff on July 23.

If only for that, Diaz and Magno are my winners already.