Photo credit: 2020 Tokyo Olympics/Official Twitter account
By Kriel Ibarrola
Almost, but not quite. Nesthy Petecio may have failed to secure what could have been the Philippines’ second Olympic gold medal in history, but she definitely won the Filipino people’s hearts.
The grit, courage, and determination she showed throughout her boxing matches in Tokyo, Japan is worth more than any medal.
At the end of the day, Petecio’s familiar old tormentor just had her number. The Filipina featherweight faced Japanese favorite Sena Irie in the final. It was only fitting that these two would meet once more in the gold medal match of the women’s 54-57 kg.
The two have already faced each other several times in earlier tournaments. While Petecio lost more matches than she won against the Japanese slugger, there was still some hope.
The Davao del Sur native already edged her once, and there was no reason why she couldn’t do it again. We’ve seen Petecio overcome tremendous odds on her way to the finale. We’ve watched her fight back after failing behind early in judges’ scorecards.
Irie was the favorite for sure, but we’ve seen David beat Goliath before. Irie exerted her dominance from the opening bell, totally owning that first round. Petecio, however, managed to close the distance in round two and made it an even fight.
The third and final round, however, was all Irie. Sure, Nesthy landed arguably the most significant strikes of the match, but her Japanese foe was just too big and too strong for her.
After the match, Petecio didn’t hide her disappointment.
“Pasensya na po kayo, silver lang nakayanan ko. Ginawa ko po lahat kanina sa taas ng ring. Salamat po ng marami sa dasal at supporta niyo. Higit sa lahat sa diyos! At safe kami pareho ng kalaban ko. Babalik po tayo Mas Malakas,” she wrote on Twitter.
Keep your head up, Nesthy. You got nothing to be sorry for. You did us all proud. Like Hidilyn Diaz, you showcased what Filipina strength is all about.
You deserve all the credit, glory, and rewards you’ll receive on your flight back home. Second place ain’t always bad.