Filipina boxer Nesthy Petecio put the Philippines on the brink of another Olympic gold medal, as she moved on to the championship round in women’s featherweight at the Tokyo Olympics Saturday.
Petecio managed to escape the taller Irma Testa of Italy in the semifinal round via a 4-1 split decision to assure herself at least a silver medal in the quadrennial meet.
Should Petecio win gold on August 3, Tuesday, it will be Philippines’ second Olympic title after Hidilyn Diaz’s historic feat in weightlifting last week.
Testa capitalized on her reach, showing more aggressiveness in the opening round to get nods from all the judges.
But Petecio returned in the second round feistier, connecting to the body of the Italian foe which appeared to have surprised Testa. The Filipino athlete eventually tied the match after two rounds.
In the final round, the Pinay pug continued unleashing flurry of attacks while Testa was still trying to counter the quick punches thrown by Petecio.
In the end, all but one judge gave the final round to the Philippines.
"Gusto ko pong mag-thank you sa dasal n'yo, sa suporta n'yo. Grabe, ramdam na ramdam ko ang dasal n'yo sa taas ng ring po," she said in a Facebook video.
"Isang laban na lang po tayo, sa August 3. Kailangan ko po ulit ng dasal n'yo," she added. "Pagtrabuhan po natin ang gold po para maiuwi natin."
Petecio's medal will be the country's first boxing accolade at the Olympics since the silver of Onyok Velasco in the 1996 Atlanta Games.
She is also assured of receiving at least P17 million as incentives, after business tycoons Manny V. Pangilinan and Ramon Ang pledged P5 million each for an Olympic silver medal.
Rep. Mikee Romero also promised to give P2 million to any Filipino athlete, who will be placing second at the Olympics.
These are all on top of the P5 million incentive from the government as mandated by the law.
Petecio will face the winner in the second semis bout between Japan’s Sena Irie and Karriss Artingstall of Great Britain.
The Filipina athlete made it to the medal round after a dominating 5-0 win over Colombia’s Yeni Marcela Arias Castaneda. Testa, on the other hand, defeated Caroline Veyre of Canada in their quarterfinal bout.
Meanwhile, Malacañang also joined the Filipino nation in congratulating Petecio on her victory in Japan.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said they also rejoiced at the impressive performances of the Filipino Olympians earlier.
“We are one with the Filipino people in rejoicing the performance of our athletes in today's schedule of games of the Tokyo Olympics,” he said.
Roque also made mention of EJ Obiena and Carlo Paalam’s qualification to the next rounds of their respective events.
“We congratulate Nesthy Petecio in winning the women’s boxing featherweight semifinals of the Tokyo Olympics and securing a second Olympic medal for the Philippines; EJ Obiena for leaping into the finals of the Men's Pole Vault; and Carlo Paalam for clinching a quarter finals ticket in the men's boxing flyweight class,” Roque said.
“The whole nation is praying for our athletes as their quest for an Olympic gold medal continues. Go for gold!”
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