Disaster struck Filipino boxing heroine Nesthy Petecio as she stood a win from securing a ticket to the Tokyo Olympics.
“I lost my confidence in the Jordan qualifier, I lost my rhythm,” said Petecio, who dropped a shock 4-1 defeat to Japanese Irie Sena in the quarterfinals of the Asia Oceania Olympic boxing qualifiers in Amman, Jordan, last March.
The reigning women’s featherweight world champion, who many thought was a cinch to tab a berth to the postponed Olympics, thus lost an outright slot. She will have to squeeze through an even tougher qualifying tournament that was rescheduled due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Petecio, who burst into the international scene after winning the bantamweight silver in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia, remains confident of flying to the Japanese capital next month and compete with the world’s best.
‘’I remain positive that I’ll make it to the Olympics. God has a reason for my loss [in the qualifiers] and I vow to come back by not doubting that I can do it,’’ Petecio said.
Also, by training amid the quarantine forced on her by the pandemic.
“I need to keep in shape,’’ said Petecio, who won the Aiba (International Boxing Association) World Championship in the featherweight class after besting hometown bet Liudmila Vorontsova by split decision last October at Ulan-Ulde in Russia.
Staying with fellow athletes at the national training facility in Baguio City, Petecio, who turns 28 on April 11, said she keeps in shape while in quarantine by jogging daily and regularly shadow boxing for two to three rounds. She also does sit-ups and push-ups at Teachers Camp.
The final Olympic qualifier was originally scheduled in Paris in May but the global health emergency wrought havoc on sporting calendars around the world. The International Olympic Committee also reset the Summer Games to 2021.
And it is a tougher tournament which will feature boxers from all over the world who failed to cash in on a Tokyo ticket in their continental qualifiers.
But Petecio said Ed Picson, secretary general of the ruling Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines, assured her that they will have a training camp abroad to prepare for the Olympic qualifier.
Boxers Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno have already booked slots to Tokyo via the Jordan event, while Carlo Paalam and Riza Pasuit also failed to earn Olympic tickets. Like Petecio, they will make one final attempt to qualify after the pandemic.
‘’It’s the dream of every athlete to see action in the Olympics and I’m not going to waste the opportunity to make it,’’ Petecio said.
Pole vaulter EJ Obiena and world champion gymnast Carlos Yulo have also qualified for the Olympics and are training abroad.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.