The Philippines' team, which recently finished its training in England, is ready to achieve its golden dreams at the 26th Southeast Asian Games which have just started in Sumatra, Indonesia.
The country secured five gold medals at the last edition of the Games in Vientiane (Laos) and secured the second place in the team rankings just behind Thailand. Philippines celebrated a great result at the AIBA Junior World Championships in Astana where Felix Eumir Marcial took a gold medal for the very first time in the nation's history. Their elite athletes performed well at the AIBA World Boxing Championships Baku 2011 and even got a quota place for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Davao's native 18-year-old Mark Anthony Barriga is the youngest member of the Filipino team but the only one to have achieved a qualifying spot in Baku. The Light Flyweight won the Sydney Jackson Memorial Tournament in Uzbekistan and has come to Indonesia for one thing, gold.
Philippines' flyweight No.1 and current Asian Games winner, Rey Saludar has just celebrated his 24th birthday and has great expectations for the event. Although he failed to qualify for the Olympic Games in Azerbaijan, losing against American star and former AIBA World Champion Rau'shee Warren, he is looking forward to the ASBC Olympic Qualifying Tournament (30 March - 8 April in Astana, Kazakhstan) in order to go to London next year.
In the Bantamweight class, former Asian Games winner Joan Tipon has been replaced by 23-year-old Junel Cantancio who was the original choice for the AIBA World Boxing Championships Baku 2011 but fell ill just before the event. With Orlando Tacuyan also missing the Games, the country will send newcomer Dennis Galvan to be its representative in the Light Welterweight division.
Defending Southeast Asian Games champion, 24-year-old Charlie Suarez will fight in the Lightweights while Philippines' top Welterweight, veteran Delfin Boholst, has also travelled to Sumatra.
In the Women's event, two Filipino will be take part as titleholders, Josie Gabuco and Light Flyweight and Alice Kate Aparri. Annalisa Cruz will compete in the Olympic Flyweight class. Bantamweight No.1, AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships quarter-finalist and three-time National Champion Nesthy Petecio is only 19 but has more than enough experience to beat her main rivals.
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