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'Saddened, disappointed' Pacquiao accepts IOC denial of Paris Olympics request

Manny Pacquiao vs Yordenis Ugas professional boxing

Manny Pacquiao said he was saddened and disappointed by the International Olympic Committee's rejection of his bid to compete in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

In a statement sent by his team on Monday, Pacquiao said he respected the IOC's decision.

"I respect the decision of the IOC regarding my request to compete in the 2024 Paris Olympics," Pacquiao said in his statement. "While I am very saddened and disappointed, I understand and accept the age limit rules."

A maximum age of 40 years old is allowed to compete in the Olympics. Pacquiao is already 45 years old.

The Philippine Olympic Committee had previously communicated with the IOC asking about Pacquiao's eligibility to compete in the Olympics through the Universality rule, which is awarded to national athletes who didn't qualify through normal qualifiers.

For the Paris Games, a total of 248 boxers can compete with 124 athletes each for men and women's divisions. Nine Universality places will also be handed out, five for women and four for men.

"Nevertheless, I will continue to support and cheer for the Filipino athletes who will represent our country in the Olympics. Make us proud," he added.

Pacquiao also said he will "bring pride and honor to my country inside the boxing ring in the near future."

The eight-division champion will compete against Buakaw Banchamek in an exhibition match in April.

The Philippines already has four athletes qualified for the Paris Games: pole vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnasts Carlos Yulo and Aleah Finnegan, and boxer Eumir Marcial.

—Justin Kenneth Carandang/JMB, GMA Integrated News