Nesthy Petecio formally took the silver medal in the women’s featherweight boxing event of the Tokyo Olympics after bowing to Japan’s Sena Irie in the championship match on Tuesday at the Kokugikan Arena.
Despite Petecio’s gallant stand especially in Round 2, Irie took the gold by a unanimous decision.
Petecio opted to size up her opponent in Round 1, but with Irie landing good jabs throughout the round, all the five judges gave it to her.
Petecio delivered in Round 2, tagging Irie with solid strikes enough to get the nod from four judges, namely Alejandro Barrientos, Mariya Kavaklieva, Mohamed Besmi and Bakytzhan Bekpenbetov.
Only judge Manuel Vilarino found Petecio’s aggression not enough and still gave Round 2 to Irie.
Both boxers went at it in the final round, but with fatigue coming their way, it was reduced to a flinching game.
Only Vilarino had 30-27, while the other four judges had it 29-28 for Irie, who became the inaugural champion of the division.
Petecio’s silver was the first for Philippine boxing in the Olympics since Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco clinched the same color of a medal at the Atlanta 1996 edition.
It was also the second for the country in these Olympics after Hidilyn Diaz’s gold in women’s -55 kgs of weightlifting last July 24.
“This means a lot to me,” Petecio told a well-attended press conference, the first for the Tokyo Olympics boxing competitions. “I dedicate this fight to my country, my family, and my best friend, who died last February.”
“But most especially, I dedicate this silver medal to my coach, Coach Boy [Nolito Velasco] for his tireless effort to bring me to where I am now,” she said.
Petecio was in tears while praising her tormentor and could not hold her tears back during the medal ceremony.
In the same press conference, the 29-year-old Petecio said she will not give up on her Olympic dream.
“Tuloy pa rin ho (I will continue my dream),” she said. “Kagaya ni champ Hidy [Diaz], nag-silver siya sa Rio and nag-gold siya dito at 30, kaya tuloy ang laban (Like champ Hidilyn Diaz, he won silver in Rio and god here at 30, so the fight will go on).”
‘She made us very proud’
Malacañang congratulated Petecio for being the first Filipina boxer to win Olympic silver medal.
“She made us very proud. Ang kuwento po ni Nesthy ay kuwento ng buong sambayanang Pilipino. Tayo po ay naghirap, nangarap, nagwagi. Tagumpay po ang silver medal, ha. Huwag po natin kakalimutan (Nesthy’s story is the story of the entire Filipino people. We have suffered, we have dreamt, we have won. The silver medal is a success. Let’s not forget),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.
Roque said Petecio can still continue her dream to win an Olympic gold medal “since she is still young.”
“Pero (But) as it is, we’re very proud as a nation of Nesthy,” he said.
Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar also joined the Filipino nation in congratulating Petecio “for bringing pride and honor to our country through her remarkable performance.”
“With her silver medal win, she has helped further our nation in achieving new records in this division,” he said in a statement. “Mabuhay ka (Long live), Nesthy! We are all proud of you.” (Ivan Stewart Saldajeno, PNA)