MANILA, Philippines -- Filipina boxer Nesthy Petecio is hopeful that she can resume training soon, as her rivals from other countries have already begun preparing for next year's Olympic qualifiers.
Petecio, who won featherweight gold in the AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships last year, has been taking part in the Philippine boxing team's virtual training sessions. However, she has not been able to do so on a regular basis due to spotty internet connection in her hometown of Davao del Sur.
"Nag-aantay po kami na maaprubahan po na pwede na bumalik. Papabalikin na po kami ng Manila 'pag may approval na po, para makapag-focus po talaga," said Petecio during a recent interview on Radyo Pilipinas.
"Kasi, kailangan po talaga na eh, kasi 'yung ibang bansa po, nakakapag-training na po sila ng normal," she revealed.
Petecio noted that her rivals from Thailand, Vietnam and Japan have already begun training again, while her coach Nolito "Boy" Velasco believes the boxers from India never stopped their preparations.
Philippine sports officials are optimistic that the country's Olympic hopefuls can resume their preparations soon, as they await the official green light from the government.
Mariano "Nonong" Araneta, the chef-de-mission to the Tokyo Olympics, said recently that health and safety protocols have already been submitted to the Philippine Sports Commission. Venues, such as the PhilSports Arena, are also being prepared.
Petecio said she and the other members of the boxing team are determined to get back to work as soon as possible, as they are still gunning for Olympic berths.
"Sana ma-aprubahan dito na makabalik kami kaagad," she said.
Petecio missed out on a chance to qualify for the Olympics during the Asia-Oceania qualification tournament last March. The top seed in the featherweight division, Petecio bowed to Japan's Sena Irie in the quarterfinals.
She still has an opportunity to book her ticket to the Summer Games through the world qualifying tournament next year.
"Tuloy na po daw talaga, may schedule na po 'yung qualifier by next year po, sa May. Wala pang specific na date po, pero at least may month na siya," said Petecio.
Despite not having regularly trained in recent months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Petecio is confident that she can regain her fitness in time for the qualifiers. She believes that with hard work and a strict training regimen, she can be in top shape within three to four months.