Daily Archives: March 10, 2008

FilAm Teen to Represent RP Swimming in Beijing 2008

By Maria Sunantha Quibilan/Asianjournal.com

LOS ANGELES — A 17-year-old Filipina American who is a current Hawaii State swimming champion has qualified for the 100-meter freestyle event of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and is representing the Philippines.

Christel Simms, who has been a competitive swimmer for 9 years, has broken 54 individual Hawaii State records. Her record of 57.12-second time for the 100-meter freestyle heat and 26.38-second time for the 50-meter freestyle both passed the USA Olympic trial cut.

Simms became a member of the USA National Junior Swimming Team in 2007 and finished at 57.17 seconds at the championships last August in Indianapolis. Since then she has caught the attention of many national and international swimming organizations, among them the Philippine Amateur Swimming Association (PASA).

“Simms will definitely help to put Philippines on the map for swimming. She’s an incredibly talented athlete who we’re sure will represent our country very well in the 100-meter freestyle event at Beijing,” said PASA president Mark Joseph. “We’ve had our eye on Christel for almost two years; she’s a hot commodity in the U.S. and we’re extremely glad she’s chosen to take this route and be a Republic of the Philippines representative in the 2008 Olympic Games.”

Although USA Swimming, the national governing body for the sport, has placed Simms as its potential entry to represent the US for the 2012 London Olympic Games, Simms chose to take the opportunity to compete in this quadrennial event even earlier, carrying the Philippine flag.

Simms was raised in the United States but her parents, Charles and Jocelyn, made sure to immerse her and her younger brother in their Filipino culture. “My daughter is Filipino and will swim for the Philippines,” said mother Jocelyn. “Her uncle was a Filipino national tennis champion so our link to Philippine sports is solid.”

The first woman to be part of the Philippine swim team for the Beijing Olympics, Simms joins Miguel Molina, Ryan Arabejo, Daniel Coakley and James Walsh, the four “Golden Boys” of the 24th Southeast Asian Games (held in Thailand last December). The four male swimmers are also from the U.S.

With less than six months to go till the Olympics, Simms is currently undergoing additional hours of training on top of her usual schedule of 18 to 24 hours a week. According to Joseph, the good ties between PASA and USA Swimming assure that “Christel will continue to have the best training in the world.”

Simms is only the seventh Filipina to compete in the Olympics since the Philippines first participated in the Paris 1924 games. The others who have represented the country were Nancy Deano (1976 Montreal), Christine Jacob (1984 Los Angeles), Akiko Thomson (1988 Seoul and 1996 Atlanta), Marie-Liza Danila and Jenny Rose Guerrero (2000 Sydney), and Jacklyn Pangilinan (2004 Athens).


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Pacquiao Better than Ever

by Joseph Pimentel/Asianjournal.com

LOS ANGELES — What does a former Philippine Senator, a music star and giddy fans across Southern California have in common? They were all part of the large group of fans and media that watched Manny Pacquiao’s workout at the Wildcard Boxing Club last March 5.

Former Philippine Senator and Philippine Basketball Association star Robert Jaworski, Black Eyed Pea’s Allen Pineda also known as Apl.de.Ap and Filipinos across Southern California witnessed a more focused and determined Pacquiao during open media day workouts.

From the look of the three-hour session, Filipino boxing sensation Pacquiao appears primed and ready for his upcoming re-match against World Boxing Council Champion Juan Manuel Marquez at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas on March 15.

Trainer Freddie Roach described the training camp as “the best” in a long time, a far cry from Pacquiao’s preparations in his second bout against Marco Antonio Barrera.

Most open media day work-outs are light but Pacquiao never lets up on his training regimen. The sound of Pacquiao’s punches hit Roach’s mitts like a jackhammer; his grunts could be heard across the room. Media cohorts slowly dissipated because they could not wait for him to finish the long workout.

Pacquiao’s workout is a reflection of how much he is taking this match against Marquez seriously. The last time the two boxers met in 2004, the match ended in a controversial draw.

“This is the hardest training I’ve ever had,” said Pacquiao. “I’ve gone 36 rounds of work everyday despite the fight being only 12 rounds. It’s good for me.”

For the past eight-weeks, Pacquiao has also re-dedicated himself to the art of boxing; something he admits he lost after two disappointing albeit wins.

“Last year, I haven’t been 100 percent focused on my boxing career,” he added. “I’ve been disappointed in my last two fights against [Jorge] Solis and [Marco Antonio] Barrera. I lost my drive and hunger. I wanted to get it back for my fight against Marquez.”

Pacquiao said that when he came back home to the Philippines after the Barrera II fight, he realized that 2008 was the year he would “put all my focus on my boxing career.”

“I’m still Manny Pacquiao,” he said. “I’m still hungry to train and get the championship.”

Roach added, “Before we started training [for Marquez], Manny told me no more distractions,” recalls Roach. “This is the year he concentrates on boxing. No more gambling, no basketball, no distractions. This is a real big year for him.”

Roach said that he’s worried about Pacquiao overtraining for this fight. The legendary boxing trainer admits he has to settle Pacquiao at certain points of the training camp.

He said that just last week Pacquiao tied the record of 20-consecutive-rounds-of-mitt-work without a break. That’s one-solid-hour of punching and moving.

“I was dead tired after,” said Roach.

Roach did not want to delve into strategy against Marquez. He did say that Pacquiao’s jab will be a big issue and how he utilizes his right-hook would be the difference in this fight.

“He’s always had power in both hands. It was just a matter of confidence,” said Roach. “He’s also a more complete fighter than the last time they met. Pacquiao is more mature and experienced now.”

Roach added that Pacquiao has grown considerably from the first time the two began training with each other.

“He’s better than ever,” he said.

Pacquiao on the other hand is not worried about overtraining. He wakes up early in the morning to run a few miles before training with Roach. He then closes out his workouts performing 1,000 sit-ups.

“Right now, I’m very happy,” he said. “I’ve been training really hard and prepared for this fight.”

The big reason Pacquiao trains hard is Marquez. He knows the Mexican champion is going to do his best.

“Marquez is a good fighter,” said Pacquiao. “I know he’s going to train hard. I’m going to train hard so may the best man win.”

Pacquiao, never too far away from what’s happening in his native country, mentioned that he wanted to do his best in this fight to help alleviate the unrest among Filipinos caused by the recent political controversy in the Philippines.

“It’s very important for me to inspire the Filipino people because of all the rumors that are going on right now in the Philippines,” he said.

Philippine Jordan

FilAm Al Montesa, 33, drove from Riverside to watch his first ever Pacquiao work-out in Los Angeles.

“I’m a big fan,” he said. “Ever since the last Marquez fight I’ve watched all of his other fights.”

“This is my first time to be so close to the Philippine (version) of Michael Jordan. He’s the Philippine Jordan.”

Montesa predicts that Pac-quiao will win but shied away from foretelling a knockout victory.

“Marquez is tough,” said Montesa. “He got up three times the last time. I hope Manny wins. I want Manny to win but I think he should expect a long fight.”

Meanwhile, former Senator Jaworski echoed a different sentiment.

“I hope everyone enjoys the fight,” said Jaworksi. “I don’t want to see anyone badly hurt. I want it to be a worthwhile fight and for both fighters to do their best and have fun.”


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