Saturday, January 22, 2011

Boxing body chosen NSA of the Year

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Rey Saludar
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MANILA, Philippines - Sustaining its remarkable performance in the 25th Southeast Asian Games, the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (ABAP) delivered the big punches for Philippine sports in year 2010.
Making up for a disappointing bronze medal finish in Laos SEAG in 2009, Rey Saludar pulled off a stirring victory over a fancied hometown bet to bag the gold medal in the 52kg (flyweight) division in the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.
A heavy underdog, the 23-year-old Saludar bucked the odds and outpunched the fancied Yong Chang, 13-11, to snatch the gold right under the nose of a huge stunned crowd at the Foshan gymnasium.
Coupled with the silver medal bagged by Annie Albania (women’s flyweight) and a bronze in the men’s 49 kg (light-flyweight) courtesy of another Saludar, Victorio, the younger brother of Rey, ABAP capped its Asiad campaign with a 1-1-1 total output for the best medal production by any of the sports associations in the 284-strong Philippine delegation.
For its continued commitment to excellence as demonstrated by another remarkable success in the ring, ABAP will be conferred with the National Sports Association (NSA) of the Year award by the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) in its annual Awards Night set March 5 at the Manila Hotel.
For ABAP, the honor bestowed by the country’s oldest media organization composed of daily broadsheets and tabloids, is the second in the last four years since being recognized with the same title in 2006, although the very first one since the group of chairman Manny V. Pangilinan and president Ricky Vargas took over the association in 2009.
Previous winners of the coveted plum include the Philippine Taekwondo Association (2004), Philippine Dragon Boat Federation (2005), Philippine Aquatics Sports Association (2007), the Philippine Wushu Federation (2008) and the Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association (2009).
Responsible for one of three gold medals the country won in the Asiad, Saludar was also chosen by the PSA as its Athlete of the Year recipient during the awards gala also presented by Accel, a distinction he shares with fellow gold winner Biboy Rivera (bowling) and Dennis Orcullo (billiards), together with pool great Francisco “Django” Bustamante.
ABAP hopes to ride the crest of its success now that the build-up for its ultimate target – the Olympics – goes full blast this 2011 through a major qualifying meet to be held in Azerbaijan this September.
As testimony that it’s leaving no stones unturned in its quest to give the country a historic first ever Olympic gold, ABAP launched its “Suntok Ginto” program aimed at not only tapping corporate sponsors to help the cause of the national team, but reach out to every Filipino as well through their modest P1 donation.
“Our sight is in our long term goal and our battlecry is `Suntok Ginto’ Para sa Olympics,” said Vargas.
Apart from the Asiad, 2010 also saw the Saludar brothers pocketed a gold medal each in the 31st Tammer Cup in Finland where the country emerged as the overall champion. Victorio was named as the Best Fighter of the Tournament.
The Filipino pugs also outdueled regional rival Thailand for the overall championship of the first MVP Cup International Boxing Friendship Cup staged in the country, nailing a total of eight gold medals courtesy of Albania, Josie Gabuco, Alice Kate Aparri, Nesty Petecio, Analiza Cruz, Charly Suarez, Joegin Ladon and Delfin Boholst.
Likewise, a couple of bronze medals were brought home from tough international competitions such as the World Women’s Boxing Championship, World Youth Championship, King’s Cup and China Open.

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