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Petecio, Villegas make Summer Olympics

NESTHY Petecio will be making a return to the Olympics after beating Esra Yildiz Kahraman of Turkey in the semifinals of the women’s 57-kg class of the 1st World Qualification Tournament in Busto Arsizio, Italy. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF OLYMPICS/IG

Nesthy Petecio will be eying no less than the gold medal following her qualification to the Paris Olympics on Tuesday (Manila time).

Petecio said the upcoming Summer Games could be her last Olympics so she might as well go all out to win the country’s second gold medal.

The 31-year-old Petecio formally became the sixth Filipino to punch an Olympic ticket after posting a split decision victory over Esra Kahraman Yildiz of Turkey in the women’s 57-kilogram division of the 2024 1st World Olympic Boxing Qualifying in Busto Arsizio, Italy.

Another Filipino in Aira Villegas also reserved her slot in the Summer Games following a unanimous decision victory over Zlatislava Chukanova of Bulgaria in the semifinals of the women’s 50-kg division.

Prior to Petecio and Villegas, Eumir Marcial already booked a slot in the Olympics after clinching the silver medal in the men’s 80-kg event of the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China last year while Ernest John Obiena, the second-best pole vaulter in the world, qualified via an emphatic performance in the Wanda Diamond League’s Bauhaus Galan meet in Stockholm, Sweden also last year.

Gymnasts Carlos Yulo and Aleah Finnegan have also made the Olympic cut after shining in the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp, Belgium.

But Petecio’s qualification is far more special.

“I am so blessed. This is important for me because this could be my last Olympics,” said Petecio, who earned the distinction of being the first female boxer in the world to compete in two consecutive Olympics.

She added that she worked hard to make it to the Olympics to honor a promise that she made to late Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines Ed Picson, her family and her partner.

“I got this ticket for so many people, especially my family, to God, and for our former president who died (past Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines president Ed Picson), and for my partner in life,’’ Petecio, the pride of Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur, said.

“Before (the tournament), I promised her that I would win the ticket to Paris and finally this is it. I’m so happy.”

In a message to Daily Tribune, Petecio said she will not stop until she finally gets the gold.

Walang hihinto hangga’t walang ginto,” Petecio said.

ABAP secretary general Marcus Manalo said he is thankful to their coaches and sponsors who helped them in their journey, especially the Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee and the Manny V. Pangilinan Sports Foundation.

“Excellent job by coaches Reynaldo Galido, MB Martinez, Don Abnett, the other coaches and support staff here in Italy, and all our coaches and support staff in the Philippines,” said Manalo as two of the 10-man delegation got their Paris slots.

“Big thank you to PSC, MVPSF, and POC for your tremendous support! Thanks also to MLV for the additional help. Mabuhay!

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