By Ryan Songalia, Rappler.com
MANILA, Philippines – Chad Milnes isn’t one of the two boxers representing the Philippines at the AIBA World Olympic qualification event, but he’s got Filipino pride.
Milnes, a 25-year-old New Zealander, is one of the 469 boxers from 105 countries vying for the 39 Olympic spots up for grabs. He was raised in the Auckland suburb of Northcote but is of half Filipino descent, with his mother being a native of Tacloban City, Philippines.
The lightweight (60 kilograms) boxer is chasing his own Olympic dream, beginning with a showdown with Georgia’s Otar Eranosyan in the evening session on Saturday in Baku, Azerbaijan. Milnes will need 3 wins to make it to Rio as a semifinal finish – or a quarterfinal loss to the eventual gold medalist – would qualifiy him.
Milnes fell short in his last qualification attempt, a first round split-decision loss at the Asia-Oceania qualification event in China this past March. While in China, he left with a few consolation prizes – he traded jackets with the Philippine team and was invited to train alongside them at their high elevation training facility in Baguio City.