Boxer Nesthy Petecio makes no qualms about following a tested route—and whom she’s trying to pattern it after—in going for gold in the 2024 Paris Olympics.
“Champ Hidi [Diaz] is my inspiration. She got the silver [medal] in Rio [de Janeiro] and proved that she’s capable of getting the gold; so why won’t I try it?’’ said Petecio in Filipino during her speech at the Philippine Sportswriters Association Awards Night at Diamond Hotel late Monday night, where the weightlifting heroine was feted as the Athlete of the Year for her feat in Tokyo.
This has become part of Petecio’s motivation to build on her silver medal in the Tokyo Olympics last year and seize the ultimate prize in Paris.
Diaz ended the two decades of medal drought for Team Philippines in Rio 2016 with a silver before finally writing Philippines’ sporting story for the ages in Tokyo.
“I keep on thinking that what I have achieved is enough. But there’s another side of me that says that the fight is not yet done,’’ said Petecio, a major awardee for boxing during the rites along with Olympic silver medalist Carlo Paalam and bronze performer Eumir Marcial.
Petecio lost to Japanese Sena Irie in the women’s feather title bout in Tokyo by unanimous decision, but recalling the defeat once in a while only fuels her burning desire to return atop the ring and finish the job in Paris two years from now.
The 29-year-old became an instant multimillionaire with cash incentives from the government and the private sector, her parents and siblings reaping the benefits of that silver that lifted the poor family from Santa Cruz, Davao del Sur, out of poverty.
“I entered boxing because of poverty. Almost all of us athletes are poor, so we sacrifice everyday to help our families,’’ said Petecio, whose family now lives in two houses—one in Tagaytay City and the other in Davao.
Petecio expressed her gratitude for what she has become and accomplished in 10 years fighting for flag and country, citing the Philippine Sports Commission, the Philippine Olympic Committee and the MVP Sports Foundation and all the supporters of the national boxing team. INQ
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