Hergie Bacyadan fights through doubt, earns Paris Olympics slot

Hergie Bacyadan Paris Olympics

Hergie Bacyadan (center) with coaches Ronald Chavez (left) and Gherson Nietes after booking a ticket to the Paris Olympics.

BANGKOK—On the verge of calling it quits on several occasions, Hergie Bacyadan realized that failure is a vital component to success.

Bacyadan overcame adversity throughout her journey and reached the 2024 Paris Olympics after beating Venezuela’s Maryelis Yriza on Sunday at the World Boxing Olympic Qualification Tournament.

“It came to a point that I doubted if I can still really do this. But I just kept on pushing and now I’m an Olympian,” said Bacyadan, highly emotional as tears uncontrollably rolled on her cheeks.

READ: Buoyed by belief, Hergie Bacyadan nears Paris Olympics

The 29-year-old pride of Barrio Taluktuk in Tabuk, Kalinga hammered her Yriza right from the opening bell and never wavered over three rounds in a unanimous decision to secure one of the four Olympic berths in the women’s 75kg division.

“I’m sure my family is very proud of me. I went through several difficulties before I got here,” Bacyadan told the Inquirer.

After earning the distinction as the first Filipino world champion in the Vietnamese indigenous combat sport of vovinam last year, Bacyadan was recalled to the national boxing team for the Olympic qualifiers.

Bacyadan, who suited up for the boxing squad two years ago, didn’t make it on her initial attempt to book a ticket in the first World Olympic Qualification Tournament in Busto Arsizio, Italy two months back.

By winning all three bouts at the Indoor Stadium Huamark here, she became the 15th Filipino to qualify for the Paris Summer Games in July and the fifth boxer under the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (Abap) to achieve such a feat.

READ: Decisive wins put Carlo Paalam, Bacyadan closer to Paris Olympics

Bacyadan will join fellow boxers Eumir Marcial, Aira Villegas, Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam, who likewise claimed an Olympic spot in the men’s 57kg division on Saturday night, in the glitzy French capital.

“The pressure to qualify was really great. I know that I have so much more to learn in time for Paris,” said Bacyadan.

Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham Tolentino cheered for Bacyadan at the stands along with Abap chairman Ricky Vargas, Abap president Robbie Puno and POC secretary general Atty. Wharton Chan.

Other Paris-bound athletes whose qualification journey was backed by the Philippine Sports Commission were fencer Samantha Catantan, gymnasts Carlos Yulo, Emma Malabuyo, Aleah Finnegan and Levi Jung-Ruivivar, pole vaulter EJ Obiena, rower Joanie Delgaco and weightlifters Elreen Ando, John Ceniza and Vanessa Sarno.

Bacyadan charged at Yriza upon hearing the opening bell and pummeled her foe with solid combinations to the head.

Another jarring left cross sent the Venezuelan to the canvas early in the second round, after which Bacyadan continued to pour the pressure with potent punches that forced the referee to give Yriza a standing eight count.

She persistently engaged in the third, exchanging blows with Yriza, but the latter had visibly no gas left in the tank due to Bacyadan’s persuasive attacks.

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“This is a dream come true. If the road to Paris was already difficult, I expect competing there to be much much harder,” said Bacyadan.