Known for his tenacity inside and outside the ring, legendary Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao hasn’t given up on his Olympic dream just yet and is now hoping to secure the much-coveted berth through universality rule.

Pacquiao had his sights set on the Olympic gold since he was a little boy, even before turning pro. But because of his financial situation and lack of resources, he was unable to realize his dream of being an Olympian and instead turned to professional boxing to compete for world titles. 

In 2016, when the International Boxing Association (IBA) revised their rules and allowed for the pro boxers to join in the games, Pacquiao had the chance. But, as he ran for Senator and subsequently won, he had to deter his dream once again as he had to prioritized the well-being of his country and serve the citizens.

Now 44 years old, Pacquiao finally found his freedom to compete in the Olympics but has been blocked by Olympic qualifying events, such as the Asian Games, as it had an age limit of 40 years old.

Pacquiao and his dreams

Determined to make his dreams a reality, Pacquiao didn’t give up and now eyes the universality rule as a way for him to secure a berth.

“I believe that age is not a barrier to fulfill our dreams,” said Pacquiao. “A clear heart and mind always finds its way to realize our dreams. I believe it is not too late to fulfill my dream of bringing home a boxing gold medal from the Olympics for the Philippines.”

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ABS-CBN reported that Tolentino had already contacted the International Olympic Committee (IOC) via letter to inquire about Pacquiao’s eligibility under the universal rule.

“I am grateful to the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), under the leadership of Abraham Tolentino, for making a recommendation to the IOC to process my eligibility to compete in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games,” Pacquiao said as per ABS-CBN.

With nine universality slots available in boxing—four for men and five for women—POC and Pacquiao are currently clinging to the prospect of obtaining the spot and having the opportunity to compete at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

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