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Nesthy Petecio holds her head up high in spite of Olympic Qualifying loss
by rick olivares
Rappler spoke with Filipina boxer Nesthy Petecio a few hours after her painful loss to India’s Mery Kom Hmangte in the quarterfinals of the Asian-Oceanian Olympic Qualifiers at the Tangshan Sports Centre in Qian’An, China.
The Tuban, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur native was still in pain over the loss that eliminated her from making it to the 2016 Rio Summer Games in August of this year. But she gamely related her story to Rappler.
"Nung magsimula ako, hindi pa masyadong kilala si Manny Pacquiao, so yung boksing, sikat, pero hindi masyado para sa mga kababaihan,” recounted Petecio of her salad days. “Alam ko lang gusto ko mag-boksing at makapasok sa national team.”
Like most Filipinos, Nesthy gravitated towards basketball and she loved the sport as only a kid could. However, her father, Teodoro steered her at the tender age of seven towards the Sweet Science. “Hindi ko gusto ang boksing dahil basketbol yung nakahiligan ko sa iskwelahan. Ang Papa ko ang naghubog sa akin sa boksing. Umiiyak pa ako sa training dahil hindi ko gusto.”
That changed when she saw her older brother and some neighbours take up the sport under her father’s tutelage, that changed her perspective of the sport. “Nung makita ko yung kuya ko at ang mga kapitbahay ko nag-eensayo kasama ni Papa ay natuwa ako. Doon magsimula yung hilig ko sa boksing. I love boxing."
“Pero,” she adds, “nagba-basketbol pa rin ako."
The sport has governed over two-thirds of her 23 years on this planet and her father’s vision of the sport being good for his daughter is bearing fruit.
At the age of 15, she took part in the 2007 Smart National Youth and Women’s Open Boxing Championships in Cagayan De Oro. Competing in the women’s 50-kilogram category, Petecio won the gold and was named to the national team. She has since brought home quite a medal haul — silver medals in the 2014 World Championships and the 2011 and 2013 Southeast Asian Games; a bronze medial in the 2012 Asian Championships; and a gold medal in the 2015 Indonesia President’s Cup — in both the featherweight and bantamweight women’s divisions.
And her prowess and success has allowed her to receive an education as she attended Rizal Technological University.
“Sobrang layo na ng women’s boxing ngayon. Ngayon nakikilala na yung sport,” she talked of the difference from the time she came up to how the sport is viewed today.
As for the Olympic Qualifiers, despite her going out in the quarterfinals, Nesthy has remained confidence of another opportunity to bring glory to the Philippines.
“Sobrang ganda ng experience ko rito sa Olympic qualifying. Talo man ako, nakataas pa rin yung ulo ko at proud ako sa lahat ng laro ko.”
However, the five-foot-two-inch Petecio couldn’t resist one last dig at the officiating that robber her of her chance to go to Rio. “Alam naman ng lahat ng nanood sa arena kung sino nanalo. Talo man ako pero hirap na hirap siya sa akin. It was a great experience na makalaban ang isa sa pinakakilala sa larangan ng women’s boxing."