“You are our gold.”
Olympian boxer Nesthy Petecio might have bowed to Japanese foe Sena Irie in the women’s featherweight finals but she is still a “gold” medalist to many of her supporters back home.
The 29-year-old Davaoeña fell a hairline short of winning what could’ve been the country’s second gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics 2020 after Irie took the first and third rounds in the event.
Petecio took home the silver medal, which is a first for the Philippines in the Tokyo Games.
It is also the country’s first Olympic medal in boxing since the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, when Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco won silver in light flyweight.
This is not the first time that Petecio has locked horns with Irie.
The Japanese pug won against the Filipina at the 2019 ASBC Asian Confederation Boxing Championships but the latter was quick to exact revenge.
Petecio became the victor at the 2019 AIBA World Championships, where she ended up as world champion.
In March 2020, Irie denied Petecio an outright Olympics berth in the Asia and Oceania Olympic Boxing Qualifiers.
Petecio then faced her in the Tokyo Games but not without beating four pugs first, including World No. 1 Yu Ting Lin.
Despite failing to secure the top Olympic medal, Filipinos showered the Davao native with warm congratulatory remarks following the event.
“You just don’t know what this medal means to us (white heart emoji). You’re still our gold, Nesthy! Congrats,” a Twitter user exclaimed with a Philippine flag emoji.
“She’s the gold medalist in our hearts, congrats Nesthy Petecio!” another online user exclaimed with a heart emoji.
“Nesthy herself is our GOLD! #KababaeMongTao #LabanPilipinas,” exclaimed a different Filipino.
“Nothing to be ashamed of Nesthy Petecio, for us, you are our gold medallist. Continue chasing your dream. #ParaSaPusongNagAalab,” another Twitter user wrote.
Ice tea drink Nestea also saluted Petecio and said that she’s still a “winner.”
“Winner ka pa rin, ‘Tea! Bottomless cheers para sa’yo, Tukayo, for bagging the silver medal in the Women’s Featherweight event —the country’s first medal for women’s boxing!” it said on Facebook.
Petecio in an interview said the quest for gold is not yet over as there is still the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris to prepare for.
“Chasing the gold pa din po tayo. ‘Di pa tapos po. May Paris pa po!” she said, referencing the upcoming Games.
There were some spectators, however, who believed that Petecio should’ve won the elusive gold in the featherweight finals.
“Philippines should have won that fight, we have just been robbed. Japan just keep on clinching and that’s why they can’t box properly. But still! Nesthy gave her best to get the gold for Philippines even she couldn’t. We are so proud of you, Nesthy! You will always be our Gold Medalist,” a Twitter user commented.
“Silver is not bad for Nesthy but she deserved that gold based on her performance. We’ve been robbed,” wrote another online user with a broken heart emoji.
“‘Yung gold medalist na Hapon nila, puro yakap lang alam! Dapat si Baymax kalaban mo, hoy! Nesthy Petecio deserved the gold medal,” claimed a different Twitter user.
Reports note that Petecio went “all-out” in the third round by “landing her trademark combinations” but Irie had “landed enough punches to convince the judges.”