Olympic hopeful Nesthy Petecio: Better be safe

Published January 22, 2021, 5:13 PM

by Carlo Anolin

Nesthy Petecio arrives at the NAIA Terminal 3 after bagging the gold medal at the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championship in Ulan Ude, Russia. (PHOTO BY ALVIN KASIBAN)

Filipino boxer Nesthy Petecio said Friday the health and safety of athletes and Japanese people must come first following rumors of the possible cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics.

Petecio, who is currently training at the Inspire Sports Academy in preparation for the Olympics, respects whatever the final decision of the Tokyo Games organizers should they deem the coronavirus pandemic a threat to Japan and its citizens.

A December poll by Japan broadcaster NHK showed that the majority of Japanese people are in favor to further delay or completely cancel the Olympics set on July 23.

“Andoon na po tayo na sayang, ilang buwan na naman na [paghihintay at] pagtiis. Mas okay po yung [maghintay nang] safe tayo kesa mag babakasakali lang sa lahat po,” Petecio told the Manila Bulletin in an online exchange. “Mas okay na [maghintay] at magtiis, kesa yung buhay mo maalanganin or buhay ng pamilya mo maapektuhan din.”

Regardless of the decision, Petecio vowed to keep her goals and mindset intact amid these trying times.

In fact, the featherweight boxing bet from Davao del Sur stressed that she’s even more concerned for fellow athletes who have already qualified for the quadrennial sporting meet, such as teammates Eumir Felix Marcial and Irish Magno, world champion gymnast Carlos Yulo, and pole vaulter EJ Obiena.

Should the Games be scrapped for good, the frustration is always a given, said Petecio, but it’ll be worse if the coronavirus itself will become the reason for her declining health and eventually an outright ineligibility for the Olympics.

“‘Yung Olympics, andiyan lang po ‘yan. Gets ko rin po yung ‘di na kami bumabata sa larangan ng sports namin. Pero mas gusto ko pa rin po maging safe ako o ang lahat po, kesa isipin ‘yung sariling gusto ko makalaro sa Olympics.”

That said, the 2019 AIBA World Boxing Championships gold medalist keeps her head held high and works out every day in the “Calambubble” training camp.

The 28-year-old Petecio is just one of the boxers preparing for the last qualifiers in June this year, which was originally set in May 2020.

So far, Marcial (middleweight) and Magno (flyweight) have made the Olympic grade for the national boxing team.