HANGZHOU, China — The vaunted boxing team will be fighting not just for medals when hostilities in the 19th Asian Games go full blast on Sunday at the Hangzhou Gymnasium here.
Nesthy Petecio said they will go all out in a bid to shoot for slots in the Paris Olympics next year.
The 31-year-old Petecio, who won a silver medal in the women’s featherweight class of the Tokyo Olympics, said she feels that the Asian Games will be her last hurrah so might as well give her all when the opening bell rings.
“This is very important to me because I’m thinking that this could be my last shot,” said Petecio, a two-time Southeast Asian Games champion.
“We’re no longer getting any younger. We’re also getting old. My decision depends on what will happen here. This is so important to me and I am dedicating this to my family, my country, to the late Sir Ed (Picson), to my partner and to myself.”
“Last Olympics, it was for my family. This time, I’m dedicating it to myself.”
The national boxers will be showing up prepared.
Bannered by Petecio together with fellow Olympic medalists Eumir Marcial and Carlo Paalam, the pugs underwent rigid training in India and Australia in preparation for the Asian Games.
Newly-elected Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines president Robbie Puno said their marching order was not just to dominate the Asian Games but also to finally win an Olympic gold medal in Paris next year.
“We’re on the fourth Olympic cycle in Paris so the intention is to really win the gold. And we expect to accomplish that,” Puno said.
Marcial added that the mission will not be easy as he will be fighting in a heavier weight class.
“My weight class when I competed in the Tokyo Olympics was middleweight,” said Marcial, who put his professional career on hold to campaign in the Asian Games.
“Now, I will be moving up to the light heavyweight category after they (organizers) scratched the middleweight class. Hopefully, with God’s help, I can still win an Asian Games medal.”
Aside from Petecio, Marcial and Paalam (men’s 51-kilogram), also competing for Team Philippines are Ian Clark Bautista (men’s 57-kg), James Palicte (men’s 63.5-kg), Marjon Pinar (men’s 71-kg), John Marvin (men’s 92-kg), Aira Villegas (women’s 50-kg), Irish Magno (women’s 54-kg), and Riza Pasuit (women’s 60-kg).