March 3, 2024

Filipino female boxer Nesthy Petecio has changed the country’s narrative in the Olympics when she gallantly won the silver medal in her featherweight championship match against Sena Irie of Japan in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Aug. 2.
The 29-year-old Petecio made history as the first female Filipino boxer to win a medal in boxing, where the Philippines previously won two silver and three bronze medals since the country joined the Summer Games in 1924.
The first Filipino boxer to win silver in boxing was Anthony Villanueva in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics followed by Onyok Velasco in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
It was Jose Villanueva who first won an Olympic bronze medal in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics then Leopoldo Serantes in the 1988 Seoul Olympics and Roel Velasco in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
Humbled by her performance in Tokyo, Petecio, who was born into an impoverished farming family in Santa Cruz, Davao del Sur, vowed to train harder for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Petecio, who is a student-athlete of the University of Baguio, had the best performances in the featherweight division when she stunned top-ranked Lin Yu-Ting of Taiwan to advance to the quarterfinals.
She later outclassed former International Boxing Association world junior champion Irma Testa via split decision to advance to the gold medal match.
Prior to the Olympics, Petecio has joined the training bubble in Laguna early this year despite having no assurance she will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics until the International Olympic Committee Boxing Task Force finally decided to give her a slot for the Summer Games.
Petecio’s historic silver medal win in the Olympics is a life-changer, as the once young female boxer who used to literally fight for food during barangay fiestas, is a recipient of cash and non-cash incentives from the government and private benefactors.
As a silver medalist, she stands to receive P5 million from the national government by virtue of Republic Act 10699, or the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act.
She will also receive P5M each from the MVP Sports Foundation and San Miguel top honcho Ramon S. Ang and P2M from Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero.
She was also promised P10-M worth of residential condominium unit in Davao, plus another house and lot from Ovialand.
The Philippine Airlines is also giving her 60,000 miles of free flights per year while Air Asia pledged unlimited flights for five years.
There will be more pledges for Petecio, who has gone from fighting for food to fighting for country’s pride and glory until she proved her worth in the greatest sporting stage on the planet. – Harley F. Palangchao