|Rogen Ladon, Charly Suarez, and boxing coach Nolito Velasco during the flag raising ceremony at the Olympic Village in Rio last Wednesday.|
RP boxer Ladon focused on the gold
by rick olivares
RIO DE JANEIRO – Boxer Rogen Ladon is aware that the Philippines has a 20-year drought in Olympic medals. The last time the country took home a medal was in 1996 when his fellow Bago City, Negros Occidental native, Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco garnered a silver in boxing.
“Nasa isip ko palagi na mananalo ako ng gold medal. Pag hindi mo kasi sinapuso yan, walang mangyayari (I always think of winning the gold. If you don’t take it to heart, nothing will happen),” said the 22-year old Ladon two days before the opening of the Rio De Janeiro Olympics.
The five-foot-three Ladon, a light-flyweight like Velasco, feels good heading to the competition that begins on Aug. 6 or the day after the opening ceremony.
He booked his flight to Rio alongside compatriot Charly Suarez during the Asian-Oceanian Olympic Qualifiers in Qian’An, China last March. Now after all those months of training, the biggest sporting event of his life is at hand.
“Nag-train kami ng matagal para lang makaabot dito (We trained long and hard just to get here),” said the first-time Olympian. “Hindi naman kami nagpunta rito para mag-sight-seeing. Nagpunta kami rito para manalo (We didn’t come all the way here to Rio to see the sights; we came here to win)."
The boxing draw is scheduled Aug. 5, the night of the opening ceremony for the 2016 Summer Games. Most likely, he will go up against boxers from Cuba, Kazakhstan, and Russia in the 49 kg division. “Lahat yan malakas so laban lang (All of them are good so we’re in for a fight every step of the way)."
“Masaya ako pag iniisip ko ang laban (I’m happy when I think of the competition),” said Ladon who won silver medals in the 2015 Asian Championships and the 2015 Singapore Southeast Asian Games. “Gold, kahit ano basta manalo, pero siyempre, gold ang pinaglalaban, ang goal natin. Para sa bayan yan (Gold, any medal but a gold medal preferably will do as long as we win. It is what we are fighting for and it is our goal. And it’s for the country)."