Nesthy Petecio was all smiles inside the ring, but the tears came out in the mixed zone after the Filipina boxer accepted her silver medal in the Tokyo Olympics.
Petecio had been aiming to give the Philippines a second gold medal in the Summer Games, but she could not power past hometown bet Irie Sena and absorbed a unanimous decision loss in the women's featherweight final instead.
The Davaoena still cracked a big smile when the decision was announced, and was the picture of sportsmanship as she hugged her opponent, who has beaten her three times in four meetings already.
"Sobrang blessed ako, sobrang thankful din ako kay Lord po kasi hindi Niya ako pinabayaan sa taas ng ring, dalawa kami ng kalaban ko," Petecio told Paolo del Rosario of Cignal TV after the match. "Sobrang honored po ako na i-represent nga po 'yung Pilipinas po."
Petecio's voice cracked, however, as she clutched the silver medal and admitted that she dearly wanted to win the gold medal for her coaches, particularly Nolito "Boy" Velasco.
"Naiyak po ako kasi nanghihinayang po ako para sa mga coaches ko. Kasi nga, iaalay ko sana 'yung… gusto ko sanang ialay 'yung gold kay Coach Nolito po," she explained.
"Pero ayun kinulang po tayo. Pero ginawa ko po 'yung best sa taas ng ring po, nakita niyo. Humabol po ako, humabol po ako. Pero, ayun, thank you, thank you sa lahat ng suporta po, at kay Lord po talaga," she added.
In the post-fight press conference, Petecio also dedicated the silver medal to her family, her country, and her best friend, Alexcel Dargantes, who passed away in February.
"Especially, I dedicate this fight, this medal to my coaches, especially Nolito Velasco. I've seen how hard, how… he sacrificed a lot for this competition. That's why I'm emotional. If you saw me in the awarding, I'm really emotional because this is an important tournament, not (just) for me, of course for my country, for my coaches," she said.
Petecio lost the first round on the judges' scorecards, with Irie scoring via her jab. She recovered in the second, even as Irie disrupted her rhythm with repeated clinching, but the judges gave the third to the hometown bet as well.
It was still a historic campaign for the 29-year-old Petecio, who needed to overcome the tournament's top-seed, Lin Yu-Ting of Taiwan, in the round-of-16. In the semifinals, she battled back against the taller Irma Testa to barge into the gold medal match.
Yet Petecio, a former world champion and a gold medalist in the Southeast Asian Games, still felt the need to apologize after feeling that she had disappointed her countrymen with the result of her fight.
"Sa lahat po ng nag-pray, nag-message po sa akin, sobrang salamat po. Humihingi po ako ng pasensya kung silver lang po naiuwi ko," Petecio said, her voice trailing off.
She took one deep breath, before pushing on. "Ginawa ko po 'yung lahat ng makakaya ko kanina. Salamat po, salamat po talaga sa dasal ninyo," Petecio said.
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