Carlo Paalam qualifies for Paris Olympics

FILE–The Philippines’ Carlo Paalam reacts after winning against Uzbekistan’s Shakhobidin Zoirov during their men’s fly (48-52kg) quarter-final boxing match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo on August 3, 2021. (Photo by Luis ROBAYO / POOL / AFP)

A silver medal in the Tokyo Olympics is a thing of the past for Carlo Paalam.

“For me, the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo is different from now because from what we experienced before, we all went back to zero,” Paalam, who settled for the silver after bowing to Galal Yafai in the Finals of men’s boxing flyweight division in Japan, said in Filipino.

“We aren’t [being confident] that [because] we are already Olympians [we’re favorites] … when you think like that, you are inflating your ego and you think too much of yourself,” the 25-year-old pug said in a press conference to send off the country’s bets in Makati City on Thursday.

Paalam earned another shot at the Summer Games gold with a unanimous decision against India’s Sachin Siwach in the men’s 57-kilogram division of the Second World Qualification Tournament in Bangkok, Thailand, earlier this month.

He will lead this year’s Filipino Olympic bets during the opening ceremonies when he shares flag-bearing duties with fellow Tokyo silver medalist Nesthy Petecio.

“I am so happy to be [a flagbearer] because we are not only carrying our family names but the whole Philippines and walk holding the Philippine flag,” the soft-spoken fighter said.

Eumir Marcial, who jumped to the 80-kg category, also qualified again for a chance to better his bronze finish in his Olympic debut. Summer Games first timers Hergie Bacyadan (75 kg) and Aira Villegas (50 kg) complete the country’s entries for boxing.

Excited, not scared

Paalam does not want to get ahead of himself and announce that he will be gunning for a better finish in Paris.

“We aren’t thinking of the medals yet because we [need to be able to convince] the judges in every fight so we will just do our best and hopefully, whoever holds the decision will be fair,” Paalam said.

“I am super excited with a little bit of nervousness, but not to the point of being scared. Excited to perform well in Paris,” he added.

For Paalam, it will be important to focus on the positive things heading into the European fashion hub.

“We don’t think about the negative, we always think about the positive because that’s what’s more important and our courage and smarts because once you think about the negative things, nothing will happen,” he said. “I am excited to show and perform [with] the best Carlo that I can give in Paris.”

“I am not thinking about who among my opponents will be tough because it will be like you’re already defeating yourself,” Paalam said when asked who he will be wary of facing inside the ring.

Aside from shooting for his dream of a gold that has eluded him the first time he took on the world’s grandest sporting stage, there was still one thing that Paalam will be looking forward to.



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“It’s more fun to listen to the national anthem of the Philippines if you stand in the middle [of the podium] after a victory. That’s our goal.”





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