After getting cut from the national team due to injury, Maxine Esteban is taking her talent to West African country Ivory Coast in a bid to see action in the Olympics.
The 21-year-old Esteban has informed Philippine Fencing Association president Richard Gomez and Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino of her decision to change her nationality.
Esteban will first seek out a three-year residency period in her new place of residence before she will be able to suit up for the Ivory Coast national squad.
“My immediate transfer will allow me to continue with my training and competition without interruption, as well as share my skills and talents with a smaller fencing community in Côte d’Ivoire,” said Esteban in a letter she sent to Tolentino.
The PFA had already granted Esteban’s request.
“She asked permission that she will change nationality,” Tolentino said after getting a copy of Esteban’s letter.
“From the Philippines, she will go to Ivory Coast which is already recruiting her.”
Esteban last competed for the women’s foil team in the Hanoi Southeast Asian Games in which she bagged a silver medal.
She was hoping to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics before getting sidelined by an ACL injury while representing the Philippines in the World Championship in Cairo, Egypt in July 2022.
Before her injury, Esteban was training and preparing for international meets under legendary coach Andrea Magro.
Esteban even became the world’s No. 62, the highest rank ever reached by a Filipino fencer.