Despite a painful loss that denied her of Olympic glory, Nesthy Petecio remained gracious in defeat after falling to Japan’s Sena Irie in the women’s featherweight final at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday.
But the bout turned into a rugged scrap due to Irie’s excessive clinching from the onset with the hometown coming away with a 5-0 win—a result that raised eyebrows.
“How can it be unanimous? It’s heartbreaking for me because of how hard Nesthy fought. We remain very proud of her,” said Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (Abap) president Ricky Vargas in a TV interview after the match.
“Parang wrestling eh (It was like a wrestling match). But anyway, it should not diminish what Petecio has accomplished. She’s our gold medalist,” Vargas added.
The outcome brought back haunting memories from 25 years ago in Atlanta 1996 where Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco lost the gold in controversial fashion.
The 29-year-old Petecio, who hails from Davao del Sur, admitted the bout wasn’t her kind of fight.
“That’s not the kind of fight that I want, but our coaches also studied that and maybe there was something that I lacked or failed to notice,” Petecio said.
“But I salute Sena. Our respect for each other is the most important thing.”
Still, Petecio’s silver medal finish is a milestone for her and the Philippines, which is in the middle of its best performance yet in the Olympics.
As it stands, the Philippines already has four medalists with Hidilyn Diaz’s weightlifting gold, Petecio’s silver and Eumir Marcial and Carlo Paalam’s sure bronze in boxing.
The four-medal haul is the most ever by the Philippines in a single Olympic campaign.
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