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Vovinam expert nominated to compete for Paris boxing spot

The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) will have vovinam ace Hergie Bacyadan try her luck in qualifying for the Paris Olympics as a boxer, as agency president Bambol Tolentino believes that the Kalinga native packs power on both fists to matter in the glitzy fashion capital next year.

A title in the World Vovinam Championships in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, on Saturday just confirmed Tolentino’s assessment, as the POC will have Bacyadan train and then participate in two qualifying tournaments early next year.

“She’s a very strong contender for a podium finish. With her power and skills, she could even win a boxing gold,’’ said Tolentino after Bacyadan, who hails from the small village of Taloctoc, Tanudan, ruled the 66-kilogram division, 10-0, over Russian Mariana Avdeenko last Saturday.

“You should see her fight.

Hergie is gifted atop the ring,’’ added Tolentino of Bacyadan, who was a boxer before turning to wushu five years ago.

“She’s our secret weapon,’’ said Tolentino, the Tagaytay City mayor who is eyeing to have Bacyadan join Eumir Marcial, a bronze medalist in the previous Tokyo Olympics, in Paris.

With Abap help

Bacyadan cut her boxing career short after missing the 2021 Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) in Hanoi, Vietnam, prompting her to try vovinam instead where she landed a SEAG silver early this year in Cambodia.

Tolentino has been facilitating Bacyadan’s return to boxing under the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (Abap), the local governing body in the sport.

Besides Bacyadan, Tokyo silver medalists Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam will also be taking part in the Busto Arsizio, Italy (Feb. 29 to Mar. 12) qualifier, with the last chance to book Paris berths coming in the Bangkok event from May 23 to June 5. INQ