INCHEON, Korea—Boxing coach Nolito Velasco was scrambling for an unexpected chore the morning before four of his pugs were to start their campaign in the 17th Asian Games on Thursday.
He was begging for a permanent marker to those who care. And when he found a couple, he started masking letters off the boxers’ fighting uniforms.
The letters he needed to ink were those of the team’s sponsor. Sponsor logos are prohibited in the Games.
He failed to completely erase the logo. He said he would need to cover the uniforms with tapes if they won’t be allowed to play with the partially hidden logos.
Velasco said they were reprimanded by Asiad boxing officials when he sent lightweight Charly Suarez against Uzbekistan’s Elnur Abdurimov and bantamweight Mario Fernandez against Thailand’s Doncha Thathi on Wednesday.
They were made to fight using borrowed generic jerseys, without the Philippine flag emblazoned on their chests.
“Alam naman namin na bawal talaga ang mga logo. Kahit nga sa SEA Games ganun e. Pero sabi naman sa amin ng (team management), pwede sa AIBA (International Boxing Federation) e,” Velasco said.
Still, Velasco did not want to take the gamble as he set off flyweight Ian Clark Bautista, middleweight Wilfredo Lopez, lightflyweight Mark Anthony Barriga and lightwelterweight Dennis Galvan to their matches yesterday.
“Tatakpan ko na lang ito, baka masita na naman kami” Velasco said.
The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) is very particular with team infractions here.
In fact, Laos was stripped of its bronze medal in sepak takraw for not showing up in a game.
The Qatari women’s basketball team also withdrew from the tournament despite its appeal to play with head scarves to follow strict rules of its players’ religion.
Olympic rules, however, do not encourage commerce, religion and political beliefs to get in the way of fair sporting play.