MANILA - The parents of Filipina boxer Nesthy Petecio on Sunday said that while they believe their daughter will take home the Olympic gold medal for the Philippines, she is assured of their support whatever the outcome of Tuesday's bout will be.
Petecio will be facing Japan's Sena Irie, who denied her an Olympic qualification when they met in the Asia and Oceania Olympic Boxing Qualifiers. Petecio fortunately secured herself an Olympic berth based on her Olympic Boxing Task Force ranking.
"Kayang-kaya ni Nesthy po yun. May pananalig kami sa Panginoon na talagang bibigyan niya si Nesthy ng lakas at tibay ng pangangatawan," Petecio's mother Priscilla told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
(Nesthy can definitely do it. We have faith in God that He will give Nesthy strength.)
"Tanggap po namin kung ano yung kahihintantan ng laban. Manalo man o matalo, andito pa rin kami, pamilya niya, sumusuporta. Dasal at panalangin na sa Panginoon na bigyan ng lakas si Nesthy na talagang makuha niya yung gintong medalya para sa bayan, para sa pamilya niya, at para sa sarili niya rin," she added.
(We're prepared to accept whatever is the result of her fight. Win or lose, we, her family, are here to support her. We pray to the Lord that Nesthy will be given the strength for her to get the gold medal, for the country, for her family, and for her self.)
Teodoro, Nesthy's father, echoed his wife, saying, "Kasi yung premyo niya sa Silver ay sapat na yun. Sanay kami sa sa hirap, sanay kami sa wala.)
(A silver medal is already enough. We are used to living a poor life.)
"Ang hinahanap ko dito, yung history ba, na hindi mawawala habambuhay sa pamilya ko. Dadalhin 'yan sa mga apo ko, mga anak ko. Nasusulat yan eh, hindi yan mawawala," he said.
(What I'm after here is she will make history, for our family. That will be carried on to our grandchildren. It will be written forever.)
With her thrilling victory over the taller Irma Testa of Italy in Tokyo on Saturday, Petecio became the first Filipino boxer to fight for an Olympic gold since Mansueto "Onyok" Velasco 25 years ago.
Before Petecio, Velasco and the late Anthony Villanueva were the only Filipinos boxers to reach the gold medal round at an Olympiad.
In Tokyo 1964, Villanueva advanced to the final of the men's featherweight class by beating Charles Brown (United States) 4–1. He settled for silver after losing to Stanislav Stepashkin of the Soviet Union.
Velasco duplicated the feat 32 years later when he outpointed Rafael Lozano of Spain to reach the gold medal match of the men's -48 kilogram division in Atlanta 1996. However, he fell short of winning the gold after a controversial decision loss to Bulgaria's Daniel Petrov.
Petecio had begun taking interest in boxing as she attended her father's training for other youth in Davao City, her mother said.
"Ayaw payagan ng kaniyang Papa kasi panlalaki ang boxing. Nagpupumilit yung anak ko po, sinuportahan na lang namin ang kagustuhan ni Nesthy na sumali sa boxing po," she said.
(Her father did not want her to go into boxing because it was for men. She pursued it anyway so we just supported her.)
"Iiyak pala siya sa loob ng bahay. Ganun din, sasali din siya sa training 'pag wala ako. Kaya pinayagan ko na lang," her father recounted.
(She would cry inside our house. She will still attend training when I wasn't there. So I just allowed her.)
Petecio from then on provided for her family by joining local competitions, her parents said.
"Sinabi niya, 'yun ang tulay para maiahon kami sa hirap. Nagpursige po siyang balikan ang pagiging aggresive niya sa boxing kasi gusto po niyang makatuntong sa Olympics," Priscilla said.
(She said this would be the way we could get out of poverty. She persevered in pursuing boxing aggressively because she wanted to join the Olympics.)
- reports from Gillan Ropero and Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News
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