Boxing: No room for negativity as Petecio focuses on Olympic dream

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 14 2021 05:22 PM

Nesthy Petecio beat Myanmar's Oo Nwe Ni to win the women's featherweight title in the SEA Games in tis file photo. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines -- Former world champion Nesthy Petecio is not letting worries cloud her mind as she prepares for the Tokyo Olympics.

Petecio, 29, couldn't secure her Olympic berth in last year's Asia-Oceania qualifiers, and had been looking forward to earning her ticket through the World Qualifiers scheduled for Paris in June.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Boxing Task Force (BTF) cancelled the event, however, due to the concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Noong sinabi po ng coaches ko na cancelled na nga daw po 'yung Olympic qualifier sa Paris, siyempre nag-alala po ako na paano 'yung Olympic dream ko, na nag-cancel na nga po," said Petecio during an interview on "Power and Play."

"Pero sinabi po ng coaches na dahil nasa ranking tayo, naka-ipon tayo, nakakuha tayo ng points sa world natin, so malaki 'yung tsansa natin na makapasok doon. Doon na nila kukunin sa ranking 'yung slot sa darating na Olympics. Kumbaga, nahimasmasan din po ako doon," she added.

Petecio wound up earning an Olympic spot by virtue of her world ranking. Another Filipino boxer, Carlo Paalam, also qualified, giving the Philippines four representatives to the boxing competitions in the Tokyo Olympics.

For Petecio, who already won a world championship in 2019, making it to the Olympics is the culmination of a lifelong dream.

"Ito 'yung pinaka-highest na pangarap ng lahat ng mga atleta," she said. "Kumbaga, para sa akin, kahit ano po 'yung mga nag-gold man ako sa SEA Games, sa kung anong international po, kumbaga 'pag hindi ako nakapasok sa Olympics, hindi ako nakalaro sa Olympics, kumbaga useless lahat po 'yun eh."

"Kumbaga, ito 'yung pinaka-peak namin. So kumbaga, kung hindi ako makalaro dito, wala. Para sa akin po, kumbaga, hindi buo 'yung pagiging atleta ko hangga't hindi ako nakakalaro sa Olympics po," she stressed.

With her dream of competing in the Games within reach, Petecio said all her focus is on preparing and training, even as she acknowledged that she is feeling some pressure.

"Yes po, andoon 'yung pressure eh. Pero 'yun nga po sabi ko kanina, hindi ko na ina-allow ngayon na mag-stay siya sa akin. Alam kong andiyan lang 'yung pressure, pero diyan ka muna, 'wag ka munang pumasok sa isip ko," she said.

"Kumbaga, may block na po, may harang na po siya. Pero alam kong andiyan 'yung pressure pero hinaharangan ko po," she added.

Petecio said she has learned her lesson from the Asia-Oceania qualifiers last year in Jordan, where she admits that she internalized the worries and the pressure that she felt.

Seeded first in the women's featherweight competition, Petecio lost in the quarterfinals to Japan's Sena Irie.

"Noong time na 'yun, 'yung mga agam-agam, mga worries ko po, dinibdib ko po kasi siya eh. Kumbaga, hinayaan ko siya, in-allow ko siyang pumasok sa isipan ko, in-allow ko siyang tanggapin ko," she recalled.

"Ngayon po kasi, kahit may naririnig po ako or may nararamdaman po ako, or kung ano man po 'yan, kumbaga, hindi ko na siya ina-allow na mag-stay pa siya sa akin. Kumbaga, hinayaan ko siyang dumating, maramdaman ko siya, pero pinapalabas ko siya para mas maka-focus ako sa performance ko na gagawin ko sa taas ng ring sa bawat training," she added.

"Kumbaga, dedma."

Petecio and the rest of the Philippine boxing team are currently in Thailand for a training camp. They will head to New Delhi in May for the Asian Boxing Championships.

The Olympics will run from July 23 to August 8.

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