Petecio shines as Philippines marks long-awaited multi-medal Olympic bid

Nelson Beltran - Philstar.com
Petecio shines as Philippines marks long-awaited multi-medal Olympic bid
The Philippines' Nesthy Petecio (red) reacts after winning against Colombia's Yeni Marcela Arias Castaneda at the end of their women's feather (54-57kg) quarterfinal boxing match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo on July 28, 2021.
Frank Franklin II / Pool / AF

TOKYO – Two days after the golden breakthrough, Team Philippines punched its way to a sure bronze medal and a guaranteed first multi-medal Olympic showing in 89 years.

Team Philippines bounced back from its Tuesday shutout behind another clinical showing by Nesthy Petecio atop the ring for a semifinal entry and the sure bronze for the Davao City lady pug.

TRACKER: Team Philippines at the Tokyo Olympics

It’s a significant triumph that guaranteed many firsts.

As Petecio got back at 2018 World Championships tormentor Yeni Marcela Arias Castaneda of Colombia, she assured the Philippine boxing team of its first Olympic medal since Onyok Velasco’s silver feat in Atlanta in 1996.

More significantly, Petecio’s semis passage secured a multi-medal harvest for Team Philippines in Tokyo, and it’s the first for the country since trackster Simeon Toribio, boxer Jose Villanueva and swimmer Teofilo Yldefonso each won a bronze in the 1932 Los Angeles Games.

“Masaya ako nakabawi ako sa kanya (Castaneda), at masaya ako first Olympics ko, may medal ako,” said Petecio, adding she drew inspiration from the golden showing of fellow Mindanaoan Hidilyn Diaz in the weightlifting hall Monday night.

“(Together with Eumir Marcial) tumutok kami sa laban niya from the Olympic Village. She gave us tremendous boost and inspiration,” said Petecio, in line for her own huge Tokyo achievement – a contribution to what’s already the best, grandest Philippine stint in the Quadrennial Games.

She held her hands tightly together and bowed to the small crowd at the Kokugikan Arena, magnanimous in his moment of triumph.

“Wala pa, may laban pa. I’m still taking it one bout at a time. Isa-isa lang, baka madapa,” said Petecio, in chase of a feat that would top her victory in the 2019 AIBA World Championships.

She tangles with Italian Irma Testa in a semis face-off Saturday, with a win to assure her of the silver – and a shot at the gold.

Versus the Italian, the 29-year-old Petecio will again be facing an opponent a head taller, just like in her Round-of-16 tussle with Taiwanese star fighter Lin Yu-ting.

The Pinay simply vows to fight with courage and determination.

Female flyweight Irish Magno seeks to sustain her own rampage as she faces a big battle against touted Thai bet Jutamas Jitpong at 1:24 p.m. (12:24 in Manila) Thursday.

Earlier in the morning session, Eumir Marcial, the second seed in men’s middleweight, finally plunges into action, taking on Algeria’s Younes Nemouchi.

Having scouted Nemouchi in his earlier bout, Filipino coaches are optimistic the Algerian would pose little problem to Marcial.

It will be another busy day for Team Philippines with rower Cris Nievarez racing in the classifications and Juvic Pagunsan starting his bid in men’s golf at the Kasumigaseki Country Club.

Pagunsan had chances to study the contours and challenges of Kasumigaseki in the practice rounds Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Philippine golf team is hoping to give its contribution to the searing Tokyo drive.

“With Hidilym’s historical win, and the upcoming success of our boxers, our golfers are flowing with pride and honor and nationalism. What better inspiration than to add to an entire nation’s success,” said National Golf Association of the Philippines secretary general Bones Floro.

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