Ice cream for Nesthy

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson - The Philippine Star

TOKYOJust minutes after claiming the Olympic silver medal in womens featherweight boxing at the Ryogoku Kokugikan Arena last Tuesday, Nesthy Petecio said the first thing shed like to do is to eat ice cream at the Athletes Village. Shes been deprived for so long to keep within the 57 kilogram weight limit. In the Olympics, boxers are weighed on the day of every fight so Petecio had to tip the scales for five bouts over a week, meaning enduring a strict diet that prohibits ice cream.

Petecio, 29, went for gold against perennial Japanese rival Sena Irie in the final and thought she had done enough to clinch it. Only Argentinian judge Manuel Vilarino scored it a shutout for Irie, 30-27. The four other judges saw it 29-28. Irie grabbed and tied up Petecio whenever she came dangerously close to engage in close quarters. German referee Susann Kopke did a poor job of keeping the fight honest, allowing Irie to stymie Petecios assaults not by punching but by holding.

Petecio said because it was their fourth meeting since 2019, she knew what to expect. She tried to push Irie away but the Japanese held tight until Kopke broke them apart. The judges, at least four of them, gave Petecio the second round. In the third, Petecio stepped up her attack and Irie fought defensively, wary of her power. Kopke shouldve given repeated cautions to Irie for holding but never did. “Tanggap ko ang resulta,” said Petecio. “’Yan ang binigay sa akin ni Lord, kaya blessing niya ito. Ang silver para sa akin ay parang ginto na rin. Tuloy ang laban. Stay ako sa featherweight division at lalaban ako sa Paris. Si Hidilyn nag-silver noong 2016 at ngayon, ginto. Sana ganoon din ang mangyari sa akin sa 2024.”

Although she felt she won, Petecio said no hard feelings. “Respect ko si Sena,” she said. “Friends naman kami. Akala ko sa third round, mas marami akong suntok. Pero noong sinabi ng announcer, unanimous decision, alam ko na ‘di ako ang pinili.” Petecio said she owes the silver medal to her coaches, teammates, ABAP leadership, PSC, POC and the fighters who served as sparmates during their three-month camp in Thailand before coming to the Olympics. “Bugbog ako sa sparring,” she said. “Ka-spar ko sina Rogen Ladon, James Palicte, Marjon Pianar at iba pa. ‘Di ako pinabayaan.” ABAP dispatched seven sparmates and five coaches to focus on Olympic qualifiers Petecio, Carlo Paalam and Irish Magno in Thailand. The fourth qualifier Eumir Marcial trained in Los Angeles and later in Colorado Springs with ABAP coaches Ronald Chavez and Gerson Nietes.

Aside from ice cream, Petecio said what she misses is sinigang. Her sister Hansel, who has lived here the last 10 years, visited last Wednesday and they met up for the first time since 2014.

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